Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
Last week on Friday I was escorted by security guards out of the Helen Joseph Hospital after Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu told hospital management that I did not have her department’s permission to visit there.
Earlier that day I was cleaning the hospital’s car park together with other volunteers as part of Mandela Day.
I then went inside the hospital to check on complaints about broken lifts and poor cleanliness.
I found five broken lifts and was checking the toilets on each floor when security guards apprehended me and took me to the CEO’s office.
CEO Raymond Billa said that I did not have permission to visit from either the Health MEC or the chairperson of the Legislature’s Health Committee, and I was then escorted to my car by security guards.
MEC Mahlangu’s instructions to the hospital to obstruct my visit are outrageous.
Three years ago I was banned from the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, with my picture posted on the gate.
This ban was overturned by the Speaker and the Integrity Commissioner of the Gauteng Legislature, who endorsed my right to conduct oversight at hospitals, including unannounced visits.
Mahlangu must be called to order by the Speaker for obstructing my visit.
She should also be rebuked by Premier David Makhura who has himself endorsed unannounced visits public institutions.
I will continue to visit hospitals as it is my duty to see first-hand the conditions in our hospitals.