The Department of Health has taken over St Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Independent Media

Durban - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal is overjoyed that the Department of Health in the province has taken over the reins at St. Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill. The department is expected to safeguard the future of health professionals at the hospital.

This follows the auctioning of some of the hospital’s movable assets in mid-September.

Samuel Mkhwanazi, department spokesperson, had said the department was in the process of finalising a lease of the land and buildings of the hospital with a view to procure the said assets.

“Should these endeavours be successful and be approved by government, it is expected that the Department will commence with the running of the facility with effect from October 1, 2017,” said Mkhwanazi.

In response, Mandla Shabangu, DENOSA Provincial Organiser in KZN, said: “As DENOSA we are happy that the department will be taking over the functioning of the hospital from this month on a clean slate, and that the workforce has been absorbed into the department’s employ. The severance package for the workers for their service prior to this arrangement has been settled, in line with the country’s labour laws.”

“We deem this a victory for workers, who faced a bleak future at the time when many workers lose their jobs. The severance packages have been secured awaiting for preferential claims to be finalised after the auction of the hospital assets,” Shabangu continued.

Shabangu said DENOSA had called on the department to take over the hospital since 2014. The hospital has been unable to meet its financial obligations for operations to continue, which placed the future functionality and careers of health workers at risk.

He felt what’s most important is that the hospital will operate and serve the community and that workers’ employment status is secured.

“For the community, this means the 200-bed level 1 District hospital is still available and will remain a referral hospital for many clinics and CHCs in the area,” he concluded.

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