DURBAN – A war of words has erupted between KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and DA health spokesperson Dr Imran Keeka, with Dhlomo accusing Keeka and his party of being parasites feeding on the pain of grieving families for publicity.
Keeka had accused Dhlomo of presiding over a “crisis of genocidal proportion”. He was referring to what he claimed to be hundreds of people who died from lack of cancer treatment. The two traded insults in written public statements.
Dhlomo accused Keeka of trying to sabotage the launch of his book My Journey to Robben Island, “by pouring scorn on my Struggle credentials.”
The book, which examined Dhlomo’s life as an activist and a political prisoner, was launched yesterday.
Keeka said, “Having chosen to launch his memoirs on Human Rights Day, one can only assume that he has done so because he regards himself as a champion of human rights.
“He (Dhlomo) is no champion of human rights. In fact, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) report on KwaZulu-Natal’s oncology paints a picture of a vile human rights violator.”
He accused Dhlomo of being negligent and claimed he had caused the deaths of 530 patients who died in KZN as a result of inadequate access to oncology.
He claimed there were an estimated 8000 more cancer sufferers who simply vanished, and who had presumably died because the MEC did nothing to help them when he had the opportunity.
“MEC Dhlomo is no hero and any person celebrating Human Rights Day should shun his book,” said Keeka.
“It is he who is culpable for the biggest loss of life under this failing ANC government in the last 25 years. In fact, a legal view suggests that he should be charged with murder or at the very least with culpable homicide,” he said.
Dhlomo fired back, describing Keeka as a lightweight politician with an underwhelming political career who was “paranoid and green with professional and personal envy”.
He said Keeka was abusing people’s real pain for cheap publicity evidenced by the DA’s abuse of both the Esidimeni and Marikana tragedies. He accused Keeka of trivialising cancer illness.
“To show just how hollow Keeka’s soul is, this DA lightweight, who calls himself a doctor, has never uttered a single word about the benefits of cancer screening and testing, which can lead to early detection of the disease, making it easier and cheaper to treat and cure it where possible,” said Dhlomo.