Consternation reigned at the South Rand Hospital in south Johannesburg last month when there was a power outage for six days and the back-up generator did not fully function during this period.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Mokgethi, there was a power failure from 4 March to 10 March 2022, which was because “the HP panels between municipality and hospital were faulty, thus electricity from the municipality could not connect to the hospital.”
Mokgethi says that the generator did not operate for the full duration of the outage as it is aged and “it is speculated that prolonged utilisation results in it switching off.”
I am most concerned that faulty electricity panels led to such a long outage and that the generator did not continuously operate when required.
Both of these failures highlight the poor maintenance at this hospital over many years.
It is unacceptable that a hospital is plunged into darkness for so long without reliable back-up power.
Patients have suffered as surgery has been delayed and some patients had to be sent to other hospitals for emergency procedures.
The dysfunctional Gauteng Infrastructure Department is yet again to blame for badly maintaining hospitals.
The DA proposes that hospital CEOs be put in control of maintenance with an adequate budget to make up for years of neglect.