The Minister of Tourism Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane said in 2012, a total of 2 771 cancer patients were taken for treatment in South Africa. The cost of treating one patient, the minister told parliament on Monday that is estimated at around USD 13, 000 (M208 000).
The ﬁgure suggests that it costs more than M576 million per year to treat at least 2 771 patients. The ﬁgures further mean that from 2012 until 2019, the government had been forced to part ways with more than M576 million each year, translating to nothing less than M3.5 billion over the past seven years to treat cancer patients.
The numbers could be even much higher with research, according to the minister, showing that the number of patients keeps rising by more than 1 500 each year. To overcome this ﬁscal challenge, parliament on Monday approved the enactment of the Radiation Protection Agency bill of 2018 into law.
This was after it was given the go-ahead by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), following a long period of assistance.
The IAEA is the world’s center for cooperation in the nuclear ﬁeld, promoting the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technology while inhibiting any use for any military purpose including nuclear weapons.
“The purpose of the government through this undertaking is to grow the economy, take care of the environment as well as ﬁght cancer and other similar diseases. “The introduction of this law means the country will be able to save more money as we will no longer be forced to take patients to South Africa and other countries for treatment, where the cost of treatment is ridiculously high,” Adv Rakuoane said.
Going forward, he said the government will now establish the Radiation Protection Agency that will ensure that no one goes out of the country for treatment. The equipment towards the establishment of the Radiation Protection Agency has already been bought through the assistance of IAEA.