Public Protector turns attention to Gauteng hospitals

The inspection of public healthcare facilities continues in the coming week following Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka’s successful tour of four hospitals in the Eastern Cape earlier in the month to observe first-hand the challenges that staff and the public alike grapple with regarding the provision of services.

This time around the focus is on Gauteng, where Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane will join Adv. Gcaleka in the inspection of hospitals reserved, upgraded or capacitated specifically for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

They will visit AngloGold Ashanti (West Wits), Lenasia South District, Kopanong, Lillian Ngoyi, Jubilee and George Mukhari hospitals in Carltonville, Lenasia, Vereeniging, Soweto, Hammanskraal and Ga-Rankuwa respectively.

Tembisa Hospital will also be visited to assess if conditions at the facility are conducive to the effective provision of services.

Through the inspection, Adv. Mkhwebane and Adv. Gcaleka, who will be accompanied by investigators from the Gauteng office, seek to examine the infrastructure that has been developed specifically for the fight against the pandemic, look closely at the capacity of the facilities, establish if the facilities are coping with demand for services and whether frontline workers have sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In July, Gauteng leapfrogged the Western Cape as the country’s CIVOD-19 hotspot. As at Friday, August 14, 2020, the province had a total of 197 531 cases- nearly double the Western Cape figures.

In recent weeks, the provincial government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus have been marred by allegations of tender irregularities in respect of the procurement of PPE. This prompted the Gauteng office of the Public Protector to launch an own-initiative investigation into matter.

On 4 and 5 August 2020, Adv. Gcaleka and a team of investigators inspected Uitenhage, Livingstone, Mthatha General and Nessie Knight hospitals, where they came across an assortment of challenges, which appeared to be undermining the provision of healthcare services.

A report on their findings will be ready in 60 days. It will be shared with relevant authorities with a view to remedying the identified shortcomings. Finer details including the full schedule of the Gauteng inspections will be made available in due course.

Published Date: 
Saturday, August 15, 2020