Karen de Kock, MPL
DA Northern Cape
076 546 8663
Both Kimberley Hospital and Medi-Clinic have been running low on water supplies since Friday. Enquiries made with both hospitals by the DA have determined that KH and Medi-Clinic are currently relying on 10 000 litres of water each supplied by the Fire Department’s disaster relief unit this morning.
This quantity is enough to supply each hospital for just half a day. It is expected that a second supply will be made available later today. The water shortages pose the risk that all operations other than extreme emergencies will be postponed and patients turned away. Hygiene concerns also extend to the most basic hospital services as linen is unable to be washed in both hospitals.
The Health Department is nowhere in this crisis. The DA has fielded calls from desperate staff members at KH saying the Department has been silent on a plan to supply water to the hospital.
MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha is well aware of Kimberley’s water problems. While Sol Plaatje municipality is responsible for the regular collapse of city water supply, the Health Department has apparently never bothered about a strategy to lessen the blow on the province’s biggest healthcare facilities.
KH currently uses a reservoir system that can supply water for 2 days in the event of a crisis. With the extent and regularity of water stoppages in Kimberley this system clearly needs to be revised.
The DA is appealing to MEC Sokatsha to come out of hiding and deal with this crisis immediately. KH services patients from across the province, often in emergency circumstances. Are we going to turn not just city residents away at the door but those who have travelled for treatment as well?
The DA will be conducting further inspections of healthcare facilities to monitor the extent of any interventions from the Health Department and municipality.