RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday welcomed the announcement of an investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) into the RK Khan Hospital after a patient was found with maggots in his mouth. 

On Tuesday last week, 52-year-old Sadick Ebrahim was found with maggots in his mouth before his death.

"The ‘own initiative investigation’ by the SAHRC is exactly what is needed, this is because the notice given by KZN Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, of a probe into this alleged despicable lapse in care, will amount to nothing from her side," said DA member of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Imran Keeka.

"We know this because of the numerous cases in the past, where her predecessor promised investigations into serious matters which ended with no consequences whatsoever. No one was held accountable in these instances and, certainly, no one was ever fired."

Keeka said the DA has conducted several oversight inspections at this hospital in recent years and the facility operates at a higher than normal capacity yet it was severely understaffed. This was no doubt a major contributor to many of the complaints that the DA has received, he said.

"It is on this basis that we will today write to the SAHRC to request that it broadens the scope of this particular investigation to include patient care as a whole at this facility. We will also request that strict directives are issued upon completion of its findings in order to hold the new MEC and her Department to account in the interest of all citizens of KZN," said Keeka.

"The ANC-led political leadership of KZN’s Department of Health has often been found sitting on its hands in recent years with regards to staffing, infrastructure and medicine supply. The conditions persist and this is unacceptable. It is also common knowledge that such poor service delivery is often rewarded by this ANC-led government."

"Certainly this is the case with former KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo who, despite violating the human rights of oncology patients in our province, is now set to preside over the national health portfolio committee."

Keeka said the party was extending its sincere condolences to the Ebrahim family who have undoubtedly experienced severe anguish over this horrific incident. 

"We will visit the family on Wednesday to offer our sympathies and will also visit the RK Khan Hospital CEO on the same day. The new MEC must not attempt to stop this meeting with facility management, something her predecessor was known to do when the heat was on,"said Keeka.

African News Agency/ANA