A delegation from the Batlharos community in Kuruman arrived at the offices of the Northern Cape MEC for Health in Kimberley on Monday morning, demanding answers regarding the dilapidated state of Tshwaragano District Hospital.
THE FIRST leg of engagements between the Batlharos community from Kuruman and the Northern Cape Department of Health, regarding Tshwaragano District Hospital, started late on Monday afternoon in the presence of Health MEC Maruping Lekwene.
The two parties resolved that a follow-up meeting will be held in Kuruman on Friday.
Engagements started after a delegation from the Batlharos arrived at Lekwene’s office on Monday morning, demanding answers regarding the dilapidated state of Tshwaragano District Hospital.
The delegation waited patiently outside the MEC’s office for nine hours, waiting for Lekwene and his delegation to clear his work schedule. The engagement eventually started just after 4pm.
Earlier in the day, the delegation was met by ministerial spokesperson Lebogang Majaha, at around 10am, after having waited outside the offices since the early hours of the morning.
They had apparently been told by security guards that the MEC was not available and that there were no staff members available to engage with them.
The delegation opted to wait for the MEC to finish his daily schedule and refused to engage with anyone except him.
Lekwene attended to them late in the afternoon after attending the official opening of the newly refurbished records room and paediatric ward at the Galeshewe Day Hospital.
Following the engagement with the delegation, Majaha said that the department would provide a comprehensive response to the community on Friday.
The delegates explained that going to the MEC’s office was their “last resort” after various other efforts seeking intervention, including with previous health MECs, were unsuccessful.
They said that Tshwaragano District Hospital is “falling to pieces” and accused the local government of turning a blind eye.
They explained that they had sent Lekwene an e-mail on August 27, in which they gave him 10 days to respond to their grievances. They said that they received an acknowledgement of the e-mail, but heard nothing after that.
“The MEC’s 10 days to respond has ended already, thus we decided to show up at his doorstep,” said one of the delegates.
“The hospital suffers from a shortage of staff and poor management, while the premises are dirty and patients are turned away on a daily basis.
“The poor people are the ones who suffer and die on a daily basis as the rich ones can afford to pay for medical care.
“One of the community members ended up relying on remedies because he has not received his high blood pressure treatment in two years. He is currently relying on traditional herbs. What does that say about the relationship between our government and its people?
Following Monday’s engagement, the delegates said that the community expects answers from the department by Friday.