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OPINION:MP Marwick Khumalo is right,release the Parliament approved R30million for the Luke Commission where emaSwati receive health services but public funds must be accounted for.

Friday, 31st May, 2024

Criticism directed to the Luke Commission and the politics around its ownership, should not prevent the release of the R30million approved by Parliament, meant to assist the institution sustain itself so it could continue providing health services to emaSwati.

The Luke Commission has been surviving through foreign donations while providing services to emaSwati amid the health crisis and/or shortage of drugs in public hospitals.

But despite being ‘privately’ owned, the role played by this institution during the COVID-19 pandemic in saving lives, is highly commendable.

Worth-noting, pumping the R30million and other public funds that might be contributed there would mean, the administration and utilization of funds at the Luke Commission is now of vital public interest,that’s what owners of the institution should understand.

This means as the media, we will monitor the affairs of the institution, of course with no intention to destroy but, to promote good governance and accountability of public funds.

But apart from that,this does not mean we will stop demanding accountability from Government over the collapsed health system, we will continue to demand, as we hereby do,the provision of drugs in public hospitals.

While we investigate and expose those who looted public funds within the Ministry of Health, if we have a professional and well-managed alternative health institution, we must consider pumping the money there so that,emaSwati could,in the meantime,receive health services.

We are aware that in this country, we have people who abuse government processes to frustrate the Luke Commission, the R30million has been approved through an Act of Parliament and therefore, anyone who is obstructing or delaying the process of releasing the funds, is violating the law and must be dealt with in terms of the laws of this country.

The Appropriation Act of 2024 that awarded the R30million to the Luke Commission is one of the few pieces of legislation that is in the public interest because it seeks to save lives.

But as mentioned, in as much as we advocate for the release of the R30million, we will also demand accountability and the Auditor General(AG) will, in this regard,assist the Nation through Parliament.

Personally,I might have some concerns with the Luke Commission but, that does not mean we must allow our differences on certain issues to blind our objectivity when it comes to such sensitive issues involving people’s lives.

We will criticize the Luke Commission where we feel they have done wrong but,while we criticize,the R30million must be transferred as per the directive of Parliament.

Public funds are accounted for, it is for these reasons I am saying, we will criticize and demand accountability where we have detected wrongs but that does not mean we must block or delay the release of the money.

Therefore,the Government officials who are delaying the release of the R30million must know that,lives are at stake here,the elderly who are receiving treatment at the Luke Commission have no Medical Aids, they are poor.

Parliament on behalf of taxpayers is contributing to the Luke Commission so that the institution can sustain itself and provide health services.

We therefore applaud Lobamba Lomdzala Membe of Parliament(MP) Marwick Khumalo who moved the motion and his seconder Nokuthula Dlamini, at some point,we must see a convergence of narratives where people with different political views, agree on a certain issue in the public interest.

OPINION:MP Marwick Khumalo is right,release the Parliament approved R30million for the Luke Commission where emaSwati receive health services but public funds must be accounted for.
MP Marwick Khumalo.