Cradock Hospital’s power cut as Health Department fails to pay

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

The Cradock hospital has had its power cut off by the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality because the Department of Health has not paid its municipal account. The Department owes a whopping R5,7 million to the municipality.

By not paying its account, the Department has placed the lives of patients at risk. Premature babies cannot be kept warm or ventilated, blood samples and medication cannot be stored at the correct temperatures in refrigerators, no electrical medical equipment can be used, and elderly patients must climb the stairs as the lifts cannot work.

The official responsible needs to face disciplinary action! This a crime against humanity, and there need to be consequences if this Department is serious about service delivery!

I have written to the MEC for Health, Hon Nomakosazana Meth, to urge her to ensure that the outstanding debt to the municipality is settled as a matter of urgency, as the very lives of our most vulnerable citizens are at stake.

It is simply unacceptable that the Department, which pleads poverty, has already allowed interest on this one municipal account to accrue to a staggering R502 000 as of December 2022.

How many other accounts are accruing penalties that could be avoided if the Department simply paid on time?

While the hospital does have an emergency generator, due to a drastically diminished operational budget, the generator can only be used to prepare food for the patients and cannot be used to keep lights or plugs working.

It is unthinkable that nurses and doctors must go about the business of patient care without access to electricity and tend to patients at night with their cell phone torches.

If the Department of Health were serious about cutting costs to improve healthcare, they would immediately cull the excessive number of millionaire managers in the administration who add absolutely no value whatsoever.

The bloated administration has nothing to do with improving services, and everything to do with employing corrupt, incompetent cadres who couldn’t care less about healthcare delivery.

In the DA–led Western Cape, departmental accounts are settled within 30 days, as prescribed in Treasury regulations, and the lives of patients would never be put at risk as a result of financial maladministration.

The DA will continue to fight for the people of this province to have access to healthcare and will monitor this situation until the matter is resolved!