File picture: Ian Landsberg / African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Ian Landsberg / African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape health department, major hospitals remain on load shedding alert

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Dec 18, 2019

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Cape Town – Even with the probability of load shedding being low for the rest of the week, the provincial health department and major hospitals said they remained prepared for the worst.

Eskom yesterday said it would continue to use emergency reserves to supplement capacity if necessary, while the chance of load shedding was low until Friday.

Provincial Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said all regional, tertiary, and 24-hour health-care facilities were equipped with generators. 

The reassurance comes after nursing union the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) urged management of health facilities to ensure that generators were fully functional.

“All our key facilities have generators in place. Our smaller facilities which operate for eight hours a day do not have generators in place, but EMS, if need be, transports mobile generators to these facilities,” Denosa said.

Regular maintenance is also carried out on the generators. 

“All diesel levels are checked regularly and maintenance checks are done regularly. We had also issued a reminder notice when Stage 6 load shedding was announced,” said Van der Heever. 

Acting general secretary of Denosa Cassim Lekhoathi called on nurses to report cases where stand-by generators were not maintained or repaired. 

“As an organisation for nurses, we are particularly concerned about the state of facilities on the outskirts of big cities and in rural areas where infrastructure at facilities are not well-looked after. 

“Denosa is also concerned that not all municipalities have the ability to exclude centres that render essential services, like clinics and hospitals in their areas, from load shedding,” said Lekhoathi. 

Denosa also called on district municipalities to assist. 

“Load shedding in most facilities could mean the demise of patients who need the assistance of the machines. 

"In many cases it takes hours for ambulance services to ferry patients who need to be referred to secondary or tertiary facilities from clinics in the rural areas,” said Lekhoathi. 

The Presidency yesterday said the Cabinet fully supported efforts to ensure electricity supply. 

“Cabinet has mandated Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to negotiate with the chief executive, Andre de Ruyter, to commence his duties earlier than the set date. 

“De Ruyter, together with his management team, will immediately deal with the concerning issues of governance, lack of financial management, and stabilise operations… 

"This includes dealing with the huge backlog of maintenance of the ageing fleet of their power stations and the structural defects in Medupi and Kusile,” the Presidency said. 

Check the load shedding schedule at or call 08600 37566.

Cape Times

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