by Isak Fritz – Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
Date: 20 October 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA condemns the ANC’s inaction, while a power crisis affects operations at the Wege Hosptial in Hopetown. This is due to both the Thembelihle Municipality and the Northern Cape Department of Health failing to pay monies owed to Eskom and service providers.
The state run Wege Hospital is at the receiving end of both the debt riddled municipality, which has failed to make payments to Eskom for its outstanding power utility bill, as well the Health Department, which has failed to pay its service providers who are responsible for the provision of diesel for the hospital’s back-up generator.
The combined effects of power cuts and the lack of an operational generator have placed the hospital in a precarious position.
The hospital, which is a 24-hour facility, only has power from 6am – 9am and from 5pm -8:30 pm on a daily basis. This is extremely dangerous and could result in a loss of life.
The power cuts are also affecting the day to day running of the hospital, including the cooking of warm meals for patients, the washing of linen and dishes and general hygiene practices. At night, nurses must also make use of their personal cellphones for light, while families light candles for their loved ones. This in itself is a high fire risk.
It is completely unacceptable that patients’ lives are put at risk due to the irresponsible management of their accounts by the municipality and the department.
The DA will write to Health MEC, Lebogang Motlhaping, requesting an urgent settlement of their outstanding fuel account. We will also write to the MEC of COGHSTA asking for an urgent intervention in Thembelihle municipality, as it is clear the ANC-run council cannot abide by its debt clearance arrangement with Eskom.
This is a life and death situation and must be resolved before tragedy ensues.