Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi has blamed vandalism for the delay in reopening the accident and emergency unit at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.
According to the MEC, the provincial health department is waiting for the handover of the unit from contractors as they had to replace what was vandalised.
The unit will then be cleaned and made ready for patients, which Mokgethi hopes will happen before the end of March.
This was revealed by Mokgethi on Tuesday in an oral reply to a question posed by DA MPL and spokesperson for health in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, during a sitting of the provincial legislature.
Mokgethi also revealed that another ward at the fire-damaged hospital was being prepared for adult psychiatric patients as the previous ward was in the fire-damaged area of the facility.
R40m for hospital security
Bloom said the MEC had previously indicated that the accident and emergency unit would be re-opened on 14 March.
He said he was astonished that vandalism at the hospital occurred when the health department apparently spends R40 million a year on security.
Bloom called for a full investigation into the security failures at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital that, he said, added to the woes of staff and patients.
“It appears that this vandalism is connected to the reported theft of copper pipes, electrical cables and electrical distribution boards.
“Meanwhile, other hospitals are struggling to cope with hundreds of casualty patients that should be treated at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital,” he said in a statement.
Last month, the Gauteng government roped in the national health department to repair the hospital after a fire on 16 April 2021 damaged sections of the facility.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura signed a proclamation to transfer all functions relating to the refurbishments at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital from the provincial departments of infrastructure development and health to the national Department of Health after delays in repairing the hospital.
The project to repair the hospital is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe