Avishkar Govender
Avishkar Govender

The Caring Society: My response

From Chapter 3 of the DA Manifesto: Pages 17 to 21

Social development

There are a few other ideas which come to mind in respect of social development but on the whole the plan is solid and comprehensive. I am rather unhappy with the dependency on grants and social transfers but I think that the ideas to provide a no-child grant to discourage premarital sex and to provide national service volunteers (like me) with an opportunity voucher are fabulous. I do, however, fail to understand why someone making R1 500 or more a month would need R110 from the state each month, as a grant. We need to ensure that differentially abled people receive free healthcare and specialised education. Disability grants per se are less useful than empowerment projects to create meaningful work for people with differential abilities. There is no such thing as a person who cannot do some sort of work. Factually the OAP is a joke, it is not even a starving wage. All senior citizens irrespective whether they have private pensions or annuities must qualify for OAPs and a range of services, discounts and rebates (including frail care) which recognise their contribution to building the country.

Health

These ideas are noble, but somewhat misguided. Unfortunately as a result of my direct and indirect interests in the healthcare sector it would be inappropriate for me to comment in detail. I will say that the process of integrating the public and the private healthcare systems would work better by simply turning over all public healthcare facilities to the universities and allowing them to be used as training facilities. Effective public healthcare requires a direct and comprehensive per person national healthcare insurance, not a network of public hospitals and clinic.

The numbers of medical schools are largely dependent on patient flow and academic practitioners, and as such though we may be able to build 3 or 4 more medical schools, this will not alleviate the crisis. The HPCSA has been revising the process of registering and recognising foreign trained practitioners and the systems seem to be working. HIV-Aids is a problem, but through education and honesty we can stop the spread of the disease. However, we are seeing alarming increases in the prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and other lifestyle-related pathologies and these pose a greater burden to the state because they are chronic diseases. These patients will live longer (while on chronic meds) than HIV+ patients, who even on ARVs will live a shorter life, albeit that they will be vulnerable to opportunistic infections as well.

If we are to make headway in the healthcare debate we must unshackle the physician and upskill the nurses. I don’t believe that lay ownership or control of healthcare in any form is a wise idea. You cannot commodify the patient’s vulnerability.

Housing

Homeless people are the single biggest victims of human-rights violations because they are denied their right to dignity. Let’s say that because I am so concerned about this matter that I agree with what you are saying. Show me the plan to rehabilitate people (socially, financially and personally) who receive public housing so that we have zero unemployment and anti-social behaviour on council estates and I will put on a DA T-shirt.