Chairperson, hon Minister, Ministers present, hon Deputy Minister, colleagues, MECs, hon members of this august House, I am also privileged and honoured to participate in the debate on behalf of the province and, from the outset, we should join the President and the Minister in equally expressing our condolences to the family of none other than Dr Sefularo, the Deputy Minister of Health. We, in the province, have benefited from his wealth of wisdom and his leadership, though we would have loved to have had more. We believe that the most important monument we could have to mark his memory is to work tirelessly for a radically transformed public health care system that contributes to the overall health care of the country to benefit the poor of our country for whom he worked so hard.
Chairperson, from the outset we would like to state our appreciation and our unequivocal support for the Budget Vote, as presented by the Minister. In spite of the challenges we are confronted with as a province, we have joined the Minister and answered the clarion call that we should go back to basics, which is building a strong, sustainable primary health care foundation, a system that will ensure that we build towards the implementation of a National Health Insurance for the whole country. In that respect, we have undertaken to mobilise our communities and various stakeholders to ensure a social compact that will ensure that our platform for the provision of health care is advanced. We have taken into account that it will not only take the Department of Health but also other critical stakeholders who have a contribution to make, as there other social determinants that impact on the health of our nation. The issue of water is one that comes to mind. Therefore, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs is central to this cause. There is also the issue of sanitation, as well as decent housing for our people.
To the hon member who spoke just before me, particularly when we make comparisons, it really hits a nerve. It tends to remind us that at some time in the history of our country, we were governed from a place that was called the Cape of Good Hope, even though for the majority of our people there was nothing to hope for. [Interjections.] Of course, it could have been that the good was then left here, because we do know that all the areas here were adequately served, compared to where the majority were left with unattended infrastructure, with water problems that today impact on health. It is really not advisable, when we have for years neglected some of these areas, to come here and make unfortunate comparisons.