Dr Gwen Ramokgopa agrees that an inquiry is required into the lack of ante- and postnatal visits.Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Johannesburg - Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has been accused of downplaying the effect the removal of truckloads of furniture from her head office has had on operations in her office.

Last week, reports emerged that the Sheriff of the court had seized two truckloads of furniture to force payment of R6.2 million in a medical negligence case. 

The sheriff took the furniture last week Thursday from four floors of the Bank of Lisbon building in inner city Johannesburg and this included 400 desks, 600 chairs and 400 computers. 

The action was reportedly brought by O Joubert Attorneys, which was acting on behalf of a child who suffered brain damage at birth at the Pholosong Hospital in December 2009.

The DA's Jack Bloom said in a statement that it was concerning that Ramokgopa was downplaying the recent court action by the sheriff, as it reportedly had an impact on operations. 

"She claims that operations are continuing as normal, but staff are hampered in their work by the lack of computers, desks and chairs.

"Important meetings have been cancelled and some staff have been told that they will move to district offices, including Pretoria," Bloom said.

He also claimed that the department had made no attempt to communicate with O Joubert Attorneys, the law firm that initiated the action by the sheriff, to initiate the process to settle the matter. 

Bloom said he was shocked by the blatant disregard for a court-ordered payment, ordered in March this year, adding that it was likely to result in the sheriff returning to seize more furniture. 

"The MEC should not be so nonchalant about this serious matter and should urgently seek solutions to the financial crisis faced by her department," he said.

The department responded to these allegations, denying that staff had been moved due to a lack of furniture. 

"We are not aware of the staff being removed to districts. Services at the Gauteng Department of Health are functioning as normal," spokesperson Prince Hamnca said.