3029 patients wait for surgery at Sebokeng Hospital

Broken operating theatres, load-shedding, and linen shortages are blamed for an astounding 3029 patients waiting for surgery at the Sebokeng Hospital.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, the breakdown for surgery is as follows:

• 2250 cataract patients wait for 9 months.
• 544 patients wait 3 years for hip and knee joint surgery.
• 133 urology patients are waiting for 9 months.
• 52 orthopaedics patients waiting for two months.

The operational state of the theatres is described as “preposterous”, with algae growing on peeling walls. Infection risk is increased because of broken chillers to keep the heat down, and broken autoclaves used to sterilise instruments. Other challenges are dysfunctional theatre lights and linen shortages.

In addition to poor maintenance, there are 48 vacancies in the surgical department, including 26 nursing posts, 4 medical officer posts, and 4 cleaner and 4 porter posts. They are also short of one anaesthetist and one specialist surgeon.

As with other hospitals, the poor maintenance is due to the hopelessly incompetent Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department (GDID).

It’s absolutely inhumane that patients suffer long waiting times and surgeons have to do the best they can in poor working conditions.

Bad management is also to blame – it should be easy to hire cleaners and porters as there are plenty of applicants for these jobs.

Sebokeng is a mid-size hospital that should be capacitated to do its own maintenance.

Staff vacancies should be filled, and backlogs can be cut by paying private hospitals to do surgery for public patients.

It is important that there is early intervention to prevent surgery waiting lists from ballooning to unacceptable levels.

Will Gauteng’s six new hospitals be built speedily within budget?

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province (SOPA) address last week that six new hospitals will be built in Gauteng in this decade.

My concern is that the Gauteng provincial government has a poor track record in building health facilities – it usually takes double the estimated time and double the budget.

Failed promises about hospital building have been made before e.g. former Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi promised a new hospital in Soshanguve six years ago.

It is estimated that about 2000 extra hospital beds are needed for Gauteng’s growing population, and new hospitals need to be in places where patients are currently grossly under-served.

Tembisa Hospital has the worst overcrowding which will be alleviated if the Kempton Park hospital is re-opened as well as the promised hospital in Diepsloot.

Upgrading Lilian Ngoyi Clinic to a planned 556 bed hospital will take the strain off the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Bheki Mlangeni hospitals in the Soweto area.

A Daveyton hospital has long been promised as well as a new hospital to replace the decrepit Jubillee hospital.

A new hospital is also needed in the Heidelberg area.

Six new hospitals will cost about R9 billion. Government will need to find this money and make sure that costs don’t balloon because of corruption and inefficiency.

I doubt that the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department has the ability to build these hospitals without delays and cost over-runs, so innovative arrangements involving the private sector should be sought.

Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department fails to pay Soweto small businesses

The former MEC of the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID), Faith Mazibuko, promised the Soweto Business Forum the opportunity to renovate and rehabilitate clinics in Soweto and at the Chris Hani Baragwaneth Hospital.

Now, almost seven years later, many small business have had to close up shop and many have lost their jobs due to the department’s failure to pay for services rendered.

This was revealed at the internal hearing of the Gauteng Legislature Petitions Committee, whereby the Soweto Business Forum representatives submitted their grievances on the non-payment for the work done at these facilities in 2010.

The DID’s response to the petitioner’s statements are contradictory. The department has acknowledged that work had been done although some projects have not taken place or are not completed. Yet, the department says no order was issued for the work done and therefore payments cannot be made to the Soweto Business Forum as it will be regarded as irregular expenditure.

However, it makes absolutely no sense to not pay for work that was done and commissioned by the department, as confirmed in the hearing.

Small businesses are the backbone of our ailing economy and non-payments from government departments cripple their ability to create jobs and to ensure that the entire community benefits.

I will submit questions to the DID MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, to ascertain exactly how many projects were completed, how much money is owed to the business forum and what the department intends to do with regards to honouring their commitments.

Faith Mazibuko is now the Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Recreation and Culture.

Broken Lifts at Joburg Hospital

Distressed Patients and Visitors

I am disappointed to hear that lifts at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital are broken yet again, causing distress to sick patients and visitors.

According to community activist Kadija Patel, the lifts at the Blue Section of the hospital were all broken yesterday, and were working intermittently in the past week.

Quality of New Lifts

Earlier this week, her parents got stuck in the lifts for ten minutes before they got working again.

This raises questions about the quality of the new lifts from China that were recently installed.

Why were these lifts chosen and why are they maintained so badly?

The saga of broken lifts at this leading hospital has gone on for far too long.


It highlights the incompetence of the Infrastructure Development Department that is responsible for the lifts and other equipment at the hospital that frequently breaks down because of poor maintenance.

The escalators from the parking lot to the hospital are also broken, and the air-conditioning for theatres is not reliable.

I will be asking questions about the lift contracts which should have been awarded to a reputable company with decent lifts that don’t keep breaking down.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

[Image source]

Slow Aircon Company Keeps Getting Gauteng Hospital Contracts

The Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department has awarded four contracts worth R22.5 million to an air-conditioning company despite their failure to complete any project on time.Jack Blom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

Cool Breeze Air Conditioning and Refrigeration CC

This information concerning Cool Breeze Air Conditioning and Refrigeration CC has come to light in a written reply by Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

In the worst case, their incompetence led to all surgery being halted at the Pretoria West Hospital for two-and-half years because they took so long to do a 5 month job installing air-conditioning in the operating theatres.

Gauteng Hospitals Affected

Contracts awarded to this company are as follows:

  • Air-conditioning for Leratong Hospital theatres in 2010/11 for R7.995 million;
  • Upgrade of air-conditioners at neo-natal ICU at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in 2011/12 for R3 million;
  • Installation of chiller plant at Pretoria West Hospital in 2012/13 for R5.64 million; and
  • Additional oxygen and vacuum points at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital in 2013/14 for R5.8 million.

Unreliable Companies Getting Contracts

According to Mayathula-Khoza, penalties have been imposed and the company has been put on terms to complete the Pretoria West installation on a revised date.

My concern is that this unreliable company keeps getting contracts even though it has never finished any hospital contract on time, leading to major disruption for staff and patients.

I suspect that there may be a political connection that assists the company in getting contracts despite repeated non-performance.

This company should be barred from any further hospital contracts.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

[Image source]