The Democratic Alliance was today denied access to Addington Hospital by KZN Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu ahead of an oversight inspection to assess the facility’s ongoing lift crisis.
This despite having followed the procedure set out by the Department of Health (DoH) and requesting permission to conduct the inspection. After being denied access earlier this morning, I contacted the office of the HOD, Sandile Tshabalala. I was informed that it was in fact the MEC who, yesterday, did not authorised the oversight. No reasons were given and at this stage the DA still has no formal notification for being barred entry.
Regrettably, it seems that the MEC is following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Dr Dhlomo, by denying access to oversight by elected officials within the Legislature.
Addington is a multi-storey hospital providing vital emergency medical services to hundreds of thousands of people. Of particular concern to the DA is that the DoH has already spent millions of rands repairing the lifts during the past few years. Yet they remain dysfunctional, affecting the health and well-being of patients, staff and visitors to the hospital some of whom are forced to climb as many as 14 storeys.
While the DoH has indicated that the current lift crisis is the cause of rain water ingress and electrical issues, the DA questions this explanation. According to the Department’s own 2015-2019 Strategic Plan;
- R13million was allocated to ‘upgrade/replace 5 Otis lifts, 2 Kone lifts and 7 Schindler lifts at Addington Hospital
- This after R12.5 million was allocated in 2015/16 and;
- R400 000 in 2016/17.
These upgrades/replacements should have rectified this recurring issue yet they seem to have been completely ineffective.
The DA will be notifying the Chairperson of the Health portfolio committee about today’s oversight being blocked and will demand that the matter be placed on the agenda for the next committee meeting. In addition, we will call for a portfolio committee oversight of Addington.
It cannot be that millions of rands of taxpayers’ money is spent on a facility which remains dysfunctional while elected officials cannot see how the money is being spent.
The people of KZN deserve better.