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KH laundry comes to a standstill

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The coal supply apparently ran out last week resulting in the laundry department machinery standing idle, as no fuel was available to power machinery.

The laundry at Kimberley Hospital came to a standstill as no coal was available. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE DEMOCRATIC Alliance yesterday called on the MEC for Health to intervene after the Kimberley Hospital laundry came to a standstill after coal supplies ran out.

The party implored Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to “urgently intervene” in the energy crisis.

The coal supply apparently ran out last week resulting in the laundry department machinery standing idle, as no fuel was available to power machinery.

“No clean linen is available for patients or for sterilisation purposes. This in turn hampers the availability of clean equipment, which in turn compromises health care services. In effect, patients being cared for in ICU are being covered in drapes, due to the non-availability of sheets. This is totally unacceptable,” DA spokesperson, Isak Fritz, said.

He added that the DA suspected that the poor management of the coal reserves largely had to do with the financial crisis being experienced at the hospital.

“Within the first two months of the 2018/2019 financial year, Kimberley Hospital would have spent 50% of its total budget allocation if all accruals and commitments were paid. On top of this, Kimberley Hospital’s allocation for goods and services has decreased by 14% compared with the adjustment budget last year,” Fritz said.

He added that a situation where the Northern Cape’s only tertiary hospital was “hanging on by a thread” due to the ongoing effects of corruption and financial mismanagement within the department that had robbed health care of millions of rands, was “totally unacceptable”.

“It is no wonder that the Hawks have clamped down on tender fraud in the Health Department. While we welcome the arrest of a departmental official earlier this week, Makatong must act against all officials who involve themselves in criminal actions. More must be done to bring corruption to an end. Kimberley Hospital is on a downward track and urgently requires assistance,” Fritz stated.

He concluded by saying that the DA would ask Makatong to urgently address any payment related issues and also investigate the poor management of the coal supply at Kimberley Hospital.

Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Lebogang Majaha, yesterday responded by saying that Kimberley Hospital has regular coal deliveries of 30 tonnes every two weeks and that the last delivery was due in the week of the June 11, 2018.

“The hospital had sufficient coal up until June 15 but unfortunately the coal truck used by the supplier broke down on it way to collect the coal and the supplier then had to source an alternative truck which he only managed to do on Monday.

“The coal was loaded on the same day and was delivered to Kimberley Hospital on Tuesday, at 10am. The delay in delivery was solely due to the suppliers truck breaking down and had nothing to do with payment issues. Indeed the coal merchant is fully paid up by the Department,” Majaha said.

He added that operations had returned to normal at the hospital yesterday.