WHILE the ANC plans to march against a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg today, the DA in the Eastern Cape is to march in Bhisho against poor health services.
The opposition said the two marches provided a clear illustration of the two parties’ different priorities.
The ANC’s march was sparked by artist Brett Murray’s painting showing Zuma with his genitals exposed.
DA MPL in the Bhisho legislature John Cupido, the shadow health MEC, said of the marches: "Nothing could illustrate the priorities of each party better. The ANC’s focus is on shutting down the open society to protect a powerful clique from scrutiny. The DA’s focus is to find ways to build society so that all South Africans have a shot at true freedom.”
Cupido, who is to lead today’s protest at 10am with DA MP Patricia Kopane, the shadow minister of health, said they would be protesting "in solidarity with the plight of those suffering as a result of the healthcare meltdown in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo”.
Both provinces were confronted with shortages of nurses and doctors, lack of life-saving medication and lack of medical equipment.
Protests, to be held outside the provincial health department’s offices in Dakumbana Building, would end on Friday, Cupido said.
"We will demand that solutions to the basic governance problems common to both provinces be implemented. The solutions we will be calling for are based on tested methods we are applying where we govern.”
The provincial department was battling an infrastructure backlog amounting to R19-billion, and about 4000 officials were doing business with the department, he said.
The 2012/2013 health budget of R15.1-billion was not enough. "Realistically, for health to advance in this province it [budget] needs to be well over R20-billion.”
ANC provincial spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane said: "We reject their [DA] calls for [protests]. The issues they are raising are being given leadership attention and progress is being made in addressing them.”