Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Thursday said a graphic video showing live maggots in a patient's mouth at RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth was proof the facility had become a "death trap".
The party's KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson on health, Ncamisile Nkwanyana, said that drastic action was needed from provincial health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu to address the incident.
"The South African healthcare system continues to let our people down. Although people still have free public healthcare, the competence, attitude of staff and the quality of treatment is disastrous and leaves a lot to be desired. Hospitals, clinics and other health institutions in the nation are in total shambles.
"The government has failed the poor and vulnerable by subjecting our people to inhumane and degrading healthcare services. It is now clear that neither the KZN Department of Health nor the national government have the appetite to turn things around," said Nkwanyana.
She said government needed to stop playing hide-and-seek when it came to the healthcare system. Instead, it needed to embark on extensive transformation to address ongoing issues.
The provincial health department's reactionary response to most health issues was typical, she said.
"We have been going from crisis to crisis in this province. But what do we get in response? We get a knee-jerk response. The thinking around healthcare is just reactionary in this province. It's navel gazing. That’s all it is.
"It must be thoroughly investigated how the maggots developed in the mouth of a patient. It really leaves a lot of room for us to wonder what kind of treatment/ abuse the other patients in this hospital have been subjected to. There should have been tighter supervision of staff rendering care to vulnerable patients," said Nkwanyana.
The maggots were found in the mouth of 52-year-old Sadick Ebrahim. He died on Wednesday from natural causes after being admitted to RK Khan on June 19.
Ebrahim's son found the maggots in his fathers mouth after noticing that his upper lip was badly swollen.
MEC Simelane-Zulu on Thursday called for an "urgent and thorough" investigation into the incident.
African News Agency (ANA)