The Gauteng Health Department and two senior DA officials are at loggerheads over the decision by Natalspruit Hospital’s security staff to prevent the politicians access to the facility recently. The Star quotes DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom as saying that security guards barred him and DA MPL Neil Campbell from inspecting the new hospital in Vosloorus.
“Head of security, Mr Vusi Mkhize, appeared to be waiting for me as I had announced earlier in the week that I was going to visit the hospital. He stopped me and my colleague, Dr Neil Campbell MPL, by the car park, saying that he had to ask management permission for us to visit. When we persisted, we were stopped by the security gates and a man came out and told us very rudely that we could not enter. He called Neil Campbell ‘a child’ and waved his finger threateningly, telling us to ‘go to hell’ after identifying himself as Dan Molefe,” Bloom said.
The DA MPL said he had captured the confrontational exchange on his cellphone. Bloom continued: “It is utterly appalling that we were barred so aggressively from doing our jobs as elected representatives in checking conditions at this hospital. The reason I was visiting is because Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu had claimed at a sitting… that the electronic document management system was working well at the hospital, and that in-patients faced only a 13-minute wait and outpatients a 45-minute wait.
“I replied that this was not my observation when I visited the hospital in January this year, where I saw long queues and patients who said it was better at the old Natalspruit Hospital. I then said that I would visit the hospital to see for myself.”
“What are they trying to hide at the hospital by barring my visit?” he asked.
Bloom said the incident was part of an orchestrated plan to prevent his party exposing appalling conditions in health facilities in the province. “The previous Speaker Lindiwe Maseko and the former Integrity Commissioner Jules Browde have endorsed my right to make unannounced visits to hospitals,” he said.
The report quotes Gauteng Health spokesperson Prince Hamnca as saying that Bloom and Campbell had not observed the protocols governing the conduct of people who visit public health institutions. Hamnca said Bloom did not make a formal written request to the MEC or the health portfolio committee of his intention to visit the hospital.Full report in The Star