The KwaZulu-Natal health department has welcomed an SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) probe into complaints about its decision to stop operating two radiotherapy machines at Addington Hospital in Durban.

Durban - The country’s health system is on the verge of collapse and, at the root of the problem, is “administrative failure”.

So says DA spokeswoman Patricia Kopane who was responding yesterday to news that doctors at Addington Hospital were still working under substandard conditions, months after they were told a task team would look into problems at the hospital.

The Mercury reported on Monday that the head of the hospital’s surgery unit, Dr Masee Naidoo, wrote a letter to the acting chief executive. Doctors were working “without the necessary essential medical items” and this was exposing them and the hospital to the chance of legal action, he said.

“As a developing country the World Health Organisation expects the South African government to spend 5 percent of its gross domestic product on health,” Kopane said. “At present 8 percent is being used on this sector.” This was proof that the necessary resources were available, she said.

“The issue is that the department does not employ people with the required management skills,” she added.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had to “step up” and hold accountable those who were responsible for the state of affairs at Addington Hospital, Kopane said. South African citizens also had to “stand up and say this is not all right”.

The IFP’s Usha Roopnarain agreed with Kopane. “Clearly what is needed is for South Africans to take more decisive action,” Roopnarain said.

“The IFP is not surprised that the doctors at Addington Hospital are faced with this dilemma once again.”

Roopnarain visited the hospital last in November and would visit it again in February, by which time she said, she was promised there would be marked improvements.

Health department spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said last night that he could not comment on the matter. - The Mercury