by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 19 November 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to urgently address the collapse of health services at Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley. This comes after a woman in labour, had to be carried up the stairs on a stretcher today due to the lifts in the maternity block having been out of order since Saturday (picture below).
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The food corps also struggled to get the heavy food trolleys up the stairs to patients on the upper floors, due to the ailing infrastructure.
On top of this, the air conditioners at the old Curomed facility, which houses the orthopaedic and ophthalmology services of the hospital, are not working because the copper cables were stolen. Someone apparently also broke into the pump room and stole electronics as well. It is now so hot in the old Curomed building, that staff cannot work there. This in turn is placing further strain on the main facility.
The upkeep of the infrastructure at the Kimberley hospital, including the lifts, and the issue of security, are not new challenges. In fact, this year, millions of rands were meant to be spent on replacing the lifts.
Aside from the lifts, the metal roofs of the hospital also need to be replaced, as do the ceilings of the hospital. All of the cast iron sewerage pipes that are fitted all around the building are also in need of replacement and if one of them bursts, this will result in a crisis.
With regards to security issues, theft on the hospital premises has been going on for years already, despite multi-million rand security contracts with Karibuni and later, Defensor Security Services.
MEC Makatong must also account for millions of rands spent on the lifts and invisible security services. She must also answer for the dire breakdown of services.
Perhaps if the failing ANC chose to prioritize health services instead of squandering finances on hospital name changes, then Kimberley Hospital might have found itself in a more user-friendly state.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that all available financial resources are invested in improving health care for the sick and vulnerable instead of on superficial gestures to boost the failing ANC government’s poor image.