Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

Six power cuts have hit the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital so far this year.

This was revealed yesterday by Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe in a reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mekgwe, the following power failures occurred at the hospital:

* 3 January – out for 8 hours due to Eskom power fault

* 20 January – out for 5 hours because of a power overload

* 27 April – out for 8 hours due to cable theft

* 28 April – out for 4 hours due to power overload

* 30 April – out for 11 and a half hours due to cable theft

* 15 May – out for 6 hours because two cables were stolen at Orlando station.

Mekgwe claimed that generators worked in all cases, but there were “some delays”.

In the case of the power outage on 15 May, the delay in the generator kicking in was due to a “faulty diesel pump”.

My information is that generators frequently did not kick in immediately, leading to major problems.

On 15 May doctors were forced to manually ventilate intensive care patients in the dark.

Last year also saw a spate of serious power failures disrupt the operation of the hospital. In one instance doctors had to complete an operation by torch light.

The hospital has suffered a total of forty-two and a half hours of power cuts this year – almost two full days.

It is totally unacceptable that a solution has not yet been found for the power problems at this hospital.

There must be accountability for the broken generators and it is high time that a reliable power supply is established.

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