Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba is under fire for remarks she made to a patient at a hospital in Bela-Bela in Limpopo.

FILE: Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Photo: Limpopo (Buffalo) Department of Health/Facebook.

POLOKWANE – Limpopo Health MEC Fofi Ramatuba said her instruction for a foreign patient to pay for elective surgery at a public hospital was legal.

Ramatuba was criticized for comments made to her by a patient at a hospital in Bela-Bela, Limpopo.

A video of the MEC telling a woman that she should get medical help from Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has gone viral.

“You speak Shona and then how will you end up in Bela-Bela when you should be with Mnangagwa. You know, he’s not giving me money to operate on you guys, and I’m operating on you on my limited budget. No, you can’t rate it,” Ramatuba said in the video.

MEC insists undocumented immigrants are putting a strain on her province’s health care system.

“Minister Motsaaledi was in pain. I went with him to Musina to see the problem there, so you will not be discharged until you settle the bill. We have to charge you,” Ramatuba said in the video.

The remarks ignited a conversation on social media about access to public health care and who should pay.

But Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said her instruction was justified.

“If you are retired, you are unemployed, [or] you are a pregnant woman then we say you get free services. Those immigrants who are in the country legally, we also classify as South Africans, we subsidize them. But if you’re in the country illegally, we can’t even classify you. The law says that we have to bill you,” said the MEC.

She backed up her comments by saying her department does not have the budget to provide health care for South Africans and undocumented migrants.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called for her immediate ouster, saying her comments were cruel, unjustified and Afrophobic.

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