Debate on the urgent necessity of reopening the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital

Speech by Hon. B.W. Dhlamini
IFP Gauteng MPL
Friday, 18 June 2021

Honourable Deputy Chair of Chairs

Members of the Gauteng Executive Council

Honourable Members

The Citizens of Gauteng

“The third wave of Covid-19 is here and could potentially be more deadly than the second wave.” These were the words of President Ramaphosa this past Tuesday, as he announced the move to place the country into Alert Level 3 of Lockdown.

It is unfortunate that Gauteng is at the epicentre of the rise in the wave of new infections. The third wave could not have happened at a worse time when are short of the centrally located 1000-bed Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. This hospital could assist in lessening the burden of new COVID-19 patients and other terminally ill patients. Although the vaccine rollout is underway for those over 60 years, without the arsenal of all our hospital resources, the preparedness of our provincial healthcare against this new round of infection is at best compromised and fragile. Especially since we also know that private hospitals are also reaching their peak capacity now.

Today marks exactly 63 days since Charlotte Maxeke Hospital was closed. We have long passed the 3rdrd of May deadline, which the Department of Health initially promised the hospital would resume its functions. The Premier and MEC have made promises to expeditiously bring this facility back into action, this has not been done. Until recently we have been given different explanations for the delays. All the explanations have failed to provide a conclusive date of when the hospital might reopen.

In the meantime, terminally ill patients are missing their life-saving treatments at home and others are crammed in other hospitals without the appropriate care they need. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) pleads for urgency in the process of reopening Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. This COVID-19 virus affords no time for complacency. Making excuses for inefficient bureaucratic systems should not stand in the way of saving lives.

We challenge the government to be clear about when the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital will reopen. In this regard, the IFP calls for the Premier, Hon. David Makhura, and the MEC for Health, Hon. Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, to play active roles in ensuring that this hospital brought back on track in the fight to save the lives of Gauteng’s citizens.

I thank you.

Bonginkosi Dhlamini, MPL
Provincial Chairperson of the IFP Gauteng
082 565 3571