By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:
THE DA has been reliably informed by professional staff at Durban’s Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital that two entire ward blocks have been without electricity since 15 May after hospital technicians failed to restore electricity due to what is believed to be a fault with an on-site substation.
According to hospital sources, city engineers and electricians who were then called in to fix the problem allegedly refused to assist, claiming it was not within their area of jurisdiction.
As a result, nurses and patients in these wards are forced to use candles at night, with the families of patients even being asked to bring their own candles when the hospital has none.
The DA is truly shocked to learn of this situation and by the fact that there has been no urgent intervention by the department or hospital management for what is now 10 days.
Such a situation is unacceptable in any hospital. The sick and vulnerable should not be subject to such treatment under any circumstance.
We also want to know why are these patients have not been transferred to other wards or another hospital in the interim?
The current circumstances at Prince Mshiyeni point to an absolute lack of empathy, proper care as well as terrible maintenance and infrastructure planning.
The DA expects the department and hospital management to act immediately and to transfer patients from the affected wards so as not to compromise their safety and lives.
We will raise this matter with the MEC today and sincerely hope that his lack of action is due to being kept in the dark on this issue, rather than the fact that he just doesn’t care.
The DA will also ask for a full report to be tabled at the next KZN Health portfolio meeting.
In terms of the Bill of Rights, every citizen in our province has a right to access quality healthcare. Yet KZN’s health department continues in a downward spiral with one crisis after another.
Apartheid denied generations of South African citizens the freedom, rights and opportunities to improve their lives and fulfil their potential. Our people, working individually and collectively, freed themselves when they defeated this evil system.
For any individual to be treated this way, twenty years into our new democracy, is a travesty – what it shows is an unfair, uncaring governing party, only concerned with itself.