The IFP calls for KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Hon. Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, to shape up and get her house in order, or tender her resignation, with immediate effect.
We were dismayed to learn of yet another serious incident that occurred under the MEC’s watch: the theft of a dialysis machine, worth over R250 000, at RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth. This incident aside from depriving patients of their right to healthcare also reveals a Department in tatters. Tragically, there are sure to be patients who also lose their lives, due to being deprived of access to the lifesaving, crucial treatment provided by the dialysis machine.
We believe this incident is just the tip of the iceberg and we are most concerned about other possible thefts from other health facilities in the province, especially the local clinics. Some clinics claim they are unable to dispense medication because it is allegedly out of stock, but questions must be asked whether theft could be the real reason. Some clinics are compelled to close as early as midday because of their low stock levels and limited ability to dispense essential medications.
This criminal act of theft by a former hospital employee raises concerns over the lack of safety and security at our healthcare facilities. Why are there no measures in place to prevent the looting of equipment and infrastructure?
Undoubtedly, the theft of such a large piece of equipment was a pre-meditated crime, and the thief must have had assistance possibly from other staff, or security officials.
The IFP cannot sit back with folded arms and watch hospitals being looted, while nothing is done by those in authority.
We call for an internal investigation and assessment of the security measures within the Hospital. We further commend the police for apprehending the suspect. We hope that he will be able to provide more information, so that any other culprits can also be brought to book, and any future thefts be prevented.
The rot of the fish starts from the head, and the MEC needs to impose stricter measures to ensure the safety and security of all the staff, equipment, and medication under her care in KZN, or step aside and allow a more competent person to take charge.