OPINION: ‘MEC’s comments are callous and uncaring’

DEAR Editor,-

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s callous remarks regarding the ongoing water crisis at Murchison Hospital on the South Coast, epitomise the uncaring attitude of this ANC government.

They also epitomise the uncaring attitude of the ANC-run Ugu District Municipality.

The pleas of the many patients and their families at this facility over the lack of water have become deafening.

While the hospital management has attempted to resolve the issue, the district municipality has failed to meet its obligations.

Many able-bodied residents within this municipality have also suffered weeks and months of insufficient and inconsistent water supply.

The DA has seen both the elderly and young children – in both urban and rural areas from Port Edward to Murchison – carrying heavy water buckets over long distances.

Hospitals are supposed to be places of recovery.

They are where the vulnerable, the infirm and sick go to recover – not to suffer further indignity.

As the ultimate custodian of all patients and staff at public hospitals in KZN, it is MEC Dhlomo’s constitutional mandate to ensure that patients’ needs are met.

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Therefore, when patients and staff are suffering in public hospitals, he has to respond in a positive manner and not fob them off by saying that ‘it is not his problem’.

The MEC’s cold, uncaring attitude is completely unacceptable and heinous.

As a medical doctor, he of all people should understand the impact a lack of water has on hygiene and patient care.

Regrettably it would seem that he is more interested in performing autopsies at state mortuaries – yet another crisis of his own creation – than in living patients at government hospitals.

The DA has made numerous requests for Ugu District Municipality’s current management to be placed under intervention by KZN’s COGTA department in terms of Section 154 of the Constitution, as a result of the failure to resolve the water crisis for almost two years.

As a member of the provincial cabinet MEC Dhlomo sits directly across the table from the MEC for COGTA, giving him the capability to ensure that pressure is put on Ugu District Municipality to deliver water services. As yet he has done nothing.

An active and responsible Health MEC would be supporting the DA’s call in the interests of the many patients languishing in Murchiston Hospital without water. They deserve so much more.

DR RISHIGEN VIRANNA, MPL

Democratic Alliance

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