Activists from Defend Our Democracy held a picket line outside the Charlotte Maxeke University Hospital in Joburg on Sunday, demanding full health services resume immediately.
Charlotte Maxeke hospital fire
Parts of the hospital caught fire in April last year, forcing it to close. Some services resumed weeks later, while most patients were referred to other hospitals, such as: Chris Hani Baragwanath and Bertha Gxowa, who were already overloaded with patients.
Services halted, repairs stalled
Last December, the hospital’s desperate medical staff requested President Cyril Ramaphosa intervene and setting up a task team to expedite repairs.
Months later, in January, CEO Gladys Bogoshi . said sent a call for help to the disaster relief organization Gift of the Givers, asking them to help with repairs as the government got stuck.
The provincial department announced the progress at a press conference last week and said the health facility would be fully operational by the end of 2023.
Provincial government spokesman Thabo Masebe said Prime Minister David Makhura signed a proclamation to transfer all functions related to the renovation of the hospital from the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) to the National Ministry of Health.
Defend our Democracy Convenor Fazel Randera said patients who cannot receive treatment in hospital are suffering.
“Let’s repair and open this hospital as soon as possible. It seems that we are looking at a long period, until 2023, when the hospital will return to normal.
“The emergency unit is still closed. Several departments are closed and staff and visitors cannot park their cars inside, so there is also a safety factor,” Randera told the news channel. Newzroom Africa†
He added that he hoped Makhura will address the matter in his state speech (Sopa) on Monday.
Doctors and managers were also present at the picket, who spoke about the problems they faced while working at the Charlotte Maxeke hospital that had been burned down.
Makhura’s spokesman Vuyo Mhaga said the hospital’s capacity after the fire had exceeded 600 beds, down from the initial 1,068 beds.
“People are working on site to repair the hospital. The project manager’s preliminary stance is that full service will resume in October 2023 [completed] and handed over next month.”
Regarding the picket, Mhaga said the activists were an important part of the country’s democracy.
“We agree with them, they are right in reminding that the government delivers, and that is why the Prime Minister signed a proclamation [to move repair work to the national Department of Health] to make sure work is tracked quickly.”