South Africa: The Shot-Caller and the NHI – Can Zweli Mkhize Pull This Off?

Can the health minister fix our health system and what will it take? Here’s what Mkhize’s character, views and his past experience as a doctor tell us.

It was mid-morning when the young doctor noticed the tiny girl on a wooden bench in the labour ward, slumped and sobbing.

She was 13, but was only a few inches taller than the hospital table next to her.

Terror flashed through her eyes.

Outside, on a green hill overlooking the uMsunduzi river in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, chattering gogos were selling oily amagwinya (vetkoek) and cooldrinks to patients and families who had braved rugged terrain through the early morning hours to reach the health facility.

But the girl with the tear-stained face was alone.

The hospital, Edendale, was about 10km outside Pietermaritzburg, in uMgungundlovu district.

“What’s the problem?” the doctor asked the youngster, kneeling beside her.

She pointed at a protruding tummy that hid her thighs and whispered: “It’s very sore. It’s been like that for a while now.”

The teenager was one of Zweli Mkhize’s patients when he worked as a physician at the hospital in 1986, four years after he had graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Natal….


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Publish date : 2019-08-30 07:20:14

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