statement by Bantu Holomisa

The finding by the Public Protector that Minister Zuma had made some misleading or exaggerated claims about the cost of medicines in South Africa in an apparent bid to justify her medicines bills, is a further infringement by a minister that is now really overstaying her welcome.

With this, Minister Zuma has misled Parliament and the population at large. Under the circumstances, signing of the Bills by the President should be delayed until the Public Protector has conducted further investigations.

The Public Protector has proved himself to be a worthwhile, independent watchdog of Government. We now trust that Government will also respect the authority of the Public Protector and not allow him to be targeted as had happened to the Auditor General.

Two things are now required:
Firstly, the urgent need exists to investigate the applicable international conventions in order to determine which are beneficial to South Africa. A clear policy is needed regarding our official stand towards international copyright conventions and the right of intellectual property.

Secondly, the Minister of Health has now certainly crossed a bridge too far. This matter is a classical case of abuse of power by the minister concerned. Notwithstanding the good work she has done, her disregard for accuracy and correctness, brusque and undiplomatic treatment of involved parties in the health field and her ham-handed handling of her ministry has made her a liability. By allowing her to stay on as minister, Government will send a clear message that it condones a ministry where the only principle apparently is that the end justifies the means.

Zuma should go.