South Africa: Another Manto Blunder…

The controversial South African Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who you might remember a couple of posts back as being under fire for her antics…is back in the spotlight, this time bloggers are venting anger at an address she gave to the presidential task team on traditional medicine.

From The Big Breakfast blog who comments on the “Minister of Ill-health”…:

…came up with another blinder, saying (quote) “We cannot use western models of protocols for research and development. We should guard against being bogged down with clinical trials.” She then went on to say that the lack of measuring and documentation within traditional medicine encouraged legal challenges and dubious practise.

That, madam Health Minister, is why we have clinical trials in real science.

Is there a place for traditional medicine to exist side-by-side with ‘Western medicine’, or are they at odds with each other?

Even more scathing was Synaptoman:

At the launch of the Healthy Lifestyle Programme in Port Shepston (what in God’s name was she even DOING there), she announced that alcoholic beverages will soon carry messages highlighting the negative effects of alcohol. Are we supposed to take this woman seriously? Her alleged alcohol consumption is legendary, her fast-tracked liver transplant is common knowledge, and now this idiot is lecturing the rest of us about OUR alcohol consumption?

She went on to say says that she hopes to emulate the success her department has had with the tobacco industry, where a 40% drop has been achieved due to warnings on cigarette packets. This is not necessary. We could probably achieve at least a 40% drop in alcohol consumption in this country if we could just get HER to join the AA.

and adds in this comic depiction of the minister…

The overarching question which this incident again lends ammunition to is… How can the President have Ministers of such caliber on his staff, and defend their positions amid all their antics?


  • It’s pretty tragic when what should be a woman who serves the public good by maximizing their health becomes nothing but a PR nightmare. Perhaps they should get a ministry spokesman so that the focus leaves her and goes back where it belongs; how she will serve the national health interest?

    My 2 cents

  • […] Beitrag erschien zuerst auf Global Voices. Die Übersetzung erfolgte durch Clemens Harten, Teil des “Project Lingua“. Die […]

  • Ignatius Pule

    It must be said that some times the minister of health have some people intoxicating the South African health system.
    The TAC and others are only puppeting over health. The real situation is hard to read and undestand so long as others live and still wait for the government to be a savior.
    Go to semi rural areas, there is still lack of proper sanitation, clonics are on wheels, classrooms are still contained and no laying grounds.
    Our health system is a danger to health.
    When it comes to traditional medicine there has to be an improved mental capacity, our herbs are necessary but cannot be put under scrutiny of Western microscope. What we need is clarity from traditional healers when it comes to their code of practice. I have learnt in number of ocassions that some (medicine) does cantain human parts.
    So science can help in this.

  • […] It is for these reasons that she never ceased to be a favourite topic in the mainstream media and indeed the blogosphere. Even Global Voices Online has seen her name in its headlines, twice. […]

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