Free State chair of the Treatment Action Campaign. After TAC exposed serious problems with the provincial health system, he got anonymous death threats. He had to go into hiding.
Sello has been speaking out against the Free State Health MEC and has been allegedly threatened for it.
In November 2013, the Stop Stockouts project (stockouts.org) released a report regarding the shortage of drugs across the country. Sello was working for the Provincial AIDS Council then after being head-hunted by the council.
He says working within the provincial department of health never changed him from what he believe in, which is advocating for access to quality health care service. “I knew from this report that I was not needed anymore within the department as the plan to get me closer and silence me never worked,” he says. “I was also a threat to my former manager with regards to how I kept pushing for changing what it is to what it should be”.
The report made lots of headlines as the Free State was lagging on the shortage of drugs, so as the provincial chairperson Sello had to address the media. “This is what led to all the death threats I received in December where I had to run for my life with my family”.
He came back to the province in January and was dismissed from work because of being absent without leave. “The truth is I submitted leave forms and my immediate supervisor was asked to pretend as if I never gave him those forms before I left. Fortunately I had copies and he still has originals”.
The Free State Health Department has continued to face serious shortcomings. ranging from shortage of drugs in facilities, resignations of health care workers, staff not getting paid, and many other problems. Sello and other activists’ critical monitoring of these shortcomings have made him a target for intimidation, he says.
“This on its own have turned us into victims of death threats and enemies to those who happen to be enemies of progress and change. And in the process we were labelled anti-government and other names. This has not stopped us,” he says. “The voices of the people shall always be herd through our voice! No matter what it takes, we shall not retreat and the spirit of no compromise shall live in us!”
Sello Mokhalipi was featured in R2K’s 2015 Whistleblower Calendar. Find out more at r2k.org.za/whistleblower-calendar-2015