In response to a statement made by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that ‘foreign nationals’ are behind the overcrowding of hospitals and the struggling health system, Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa said:
“Minister Motsoaledi should stop this shameless scapegoating of refugees and migrants. He has been in charge of the health department for almost a decade and should have been fully aware of the challenges faced by the public health system, including the need for more investment, to address the health needs of the growing population. He has failed to take adequate action.
“He is now blaming refugees and migrants to abdicate his responsibility. Minister Motsoaledi should stop fueling xenophobia with these unfounded remarks and take urgent steps to improve access to affordable and quality health care for all persons in South Africa.”
South Africa has ratified several international and regional human rights instruments that require the government to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The right to health requires health facilities, goods, and services to be available, accessible, acceptable, and of good quality for all persons, free from discrimination.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Mienke Steytler, Media and Digital Content Officer, Amnesty International South Africa: +27 11 283 6000 (office) or +27 (0)64 890 9224 (mobile); firstname.lastname@example.org