- Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie could face criminal charges over controversial remarks he made about foreign nationals receiving medical care in the country.
- McKenzie said he would personally switch off foreign nationals’ oxygen machines.
- His comments come hot on the heels of a controversial video of Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba lashing out at foreign nationals for using the country’s health system.
Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie has raised the ire of sections of the South African medical fraternity following his controversial remarks he will not hesitate to switch off a foreign national’s oxygen machine to save a South African.
His comments come hot on the heels of a video of Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba lashing out at foreign nationals for draining the province’s limited health resources.
Ramathuba was captured on video berating a woman she identified as Zimbabwean because she spoke Shona, saying her department was not a charity organisation.
McKenzie initially made the comments at the weekend while addressing Eldorado Park residents at the unveiling of a tombstone for Nathaniel Julies, who was shot and killed by police near his home in August 2020.
In an interview with eNCA on Tuesday morning he said he was being criticised for his views.
READ | Fear lingers in Beaufort West where Mayor Gayton McKenzie wants to clamp down on undocumented foreigners
“I was criticised for saying I will unplug the oxygen, which I will do as a leader. I would do that; as a government official, I am supposed to do that.
“If there is a South African, Zimbabwean and Mozambican patient on oxygen and I see a South African patient born and bred in South Africa, I will turn the oxygen off so that the South African can live,” he said.
The Progressive Health Forum (PHF) has called for criminal sanctions against those who incite murder.
PHF convener Dr Aslam Dasoo told TIF News both Ramathuba and McKenzie’s comments were the language of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
When a politician, a public figure whose virtue should command the respect of ordinary people, proposes physically attacking hospital patients and, in so doing, expressly violates the laws of the country, the constitutional and human rights of a patient and the entire professional and ethical framework of healthcare, the danger is clear.
“When the threat of violence against patients is so severe that carrying it out will in all probability lead to their deaths, that is an incitement to murder.
“We have seen that sort of act perpetrated by brutal rogue militias in war-torn regions of the world that has even caused ruthless former belligerents to recoil in revulsion,” Dasoo added.
READ | FACT CHECK: No, MEC Ramathuba, poor management is killing Limpopo hospitals – not immigrants
SA Medical Association (SAMA) CEO Dr Vusumuzi Nhlapho said: “SAMA believes that healthcare is a fundamental human right.
“Foreign nationals such as refugees and migrants are some of the most vulnerable members of society. When people are marginalised or face stigma or discrimination, their physical and mental health suffers.
“Discrimination of any kind in the healthcare sector is unacceptable and is a major barrier to global socio-economic development.”
READ | Gayton McKenzie, DA lock horns over threats to cut power to businesses that owe the municipality
At the weekend, McKenzie told people at an unveiling in Eldorado Park he would sacrifice foreigners to let South Africans live.
He added the PA carried the label of being xenophobic with pride.
“Call us what you want,” McKenzie said.
He also supported Ramathuba’s rant about foreign nationals, saying the PA stood with her, dubbing her a “true leader”.
McKenzie, who is the district mayor of the Central Karoo in the Western Cape, has been outspoken about targeting and removing foreign nationals from Beaufort West and surrounds.
TIF News contacted the mayor for comment. His responses will be added once received.