PRETORIA - After being cleared of wrongdoing by Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku in the widely-reported incident of a homeless man who died outside the Tshwane District Hospital, chief executive of the healthcare institution Dr Naing Soe on Monday said he harbours no hard feelings, and vowed to continue providing much needed treatment to the Pretoria community.
A swift investigation instituted by Masuku has exonerated the facility, with videos from CCTV cameras showing that the deceased man, who was frantically walking towards the facility, died along Dr Savage Road, before he reached the hospital.
“I think a lot of people panicked after the incident was reported. There was a lot of accusations from the Democratic Alliance, councillors and newspapers saying our staff chased the patient away. It was reported that the patient was turned away because they stank, they were dirt and homeless. We also investigated and found that the deceased man never came to our emergency department. We checked the high resolution cameras with our Communication Officer [Zandile Mthimunye] and the private security company and clearly saw that the accusations were wrong,” said Dr Soe.
The video shown to African News Agency (ANA) shows the frail looking man, wrapped in a blanket, crossing the busy Dr Savage Road heading in the direction of the hospital. The man staggers, and leans by an electricity pole for a short moment before collapsing. A car guard approached the man, but there was no response. The ailing man apparently died at that spot, outside the hospital.
“We called some of the journalists who wrote the story alleging that the man had been turned away from this hospital and they said they would retract the stories. Some have corrected their articles. That is the true story which we have on video, and we have nothing to hide,” said Dr Soe.
“This Tshwane District Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the province, and in the country. I do not play the blame game - but those stories were not correct. We will never refuse anybody healthcare. We give care to anyone, be it a foreign nation or a citizen, we do not look at colour or race. We treat the highest number of patients in Gauteng, among the district hospitals. We deliver high quality healthcare to the community.”
DA Gauteng spokesperson on social development Crezane Bosch last week issued a damning statement, saying the deceased man “was refused emergency services by the provincially managed Tshwane District Hospital”.
The DA also alleged the South African Police Service also “refused to assist”.
On Monday, Bosch was adamant the deceased man had been denied access to the hospital.
“I have spoken to different people, car guards and homeless people who told me that the security guards at the hospital are the problem. They turn people away, not only this deceased man, but other people have been turned away as well,” she said.
Masuku said his investigations have revealed that the DA’s assertions are “untrue and have no basis in fact”.
“What is even more concerning to us is that these serious allegations are being peddled by a community leader and a politician in a desperate attempt to score cheap political points. We have committed to transparency and to work with all stakeholders in fixing our health system in the province," Masuku said.
"However, the actions of Bosch, who happens to be a leader in the DAemocratic Alliance, are disturbing and shows how far some people can go to tarnish the image of this ANC-led government."
African News Agency (ANA)