Members of the Gauteng provincial legislature (MPLs) Solly Msimanga, Jack Bloom, and Refiloe Nt’sekhe were barred from entering Tembisa Hospital during an oversight visit.
This was despite the departmental invitation to take the portfolio committee of health to an oversight scheduled for Thursday.
The DA leader in the province, Msimanga said it was ironic for MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehokoto to conveniently invite the media to the same hospital that elected public representatives were unconstitutionally denied access to.
“This raises suspicions about what MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko might have concealed at a facility synonymous with maladministration, corruption, ANC looting, and patient mistreatment.
“Our visit was prompted by distressing reports received from inside the hospital of patient mistreatment, including instances of individuals forced to sleep in tents and on the hospital floor,” Msimanga said.
The DA leader said the situation was so bad that patients who were on chronic medications were struggling to get medicine.
“Doctors have reported that they are forced to give patients Panado post-operation, doing nothing for the tremendous pain they find themselves in.”
As the official opposition in the province, Msimanga said if need be his party would resort to legal route in an attempt to ensure that the MEC accounts.
“Premier Lesufi and his cabinet are not above the law or the Constitution,” exclaimed the DA leader.
When asked why the DA leaders were denied access to the hospital, the departmental spokesperson, Motalatale Modiba, directed the paper to the statement the department issued. However, the statement did not speak to the questions posed to him.
In a statement, Modiba focused on the improvements the department made for the mental health-care users as well as the general patients at the hospital.
“This was confirmed by MEC for Health and Wellness Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko during an oversight visit to the facility on Thursday afternoon.
“The fact is that the facility has since doubled its bed capacity for admission of mental health-care users from 30 to 60 and no longer uses an overflow area at casualty to accommodate such patients,” he said.
The statement further highlighted the department’s infrastructure upgrades which sought to create a conducive environment for patients and staff, including the addition of an alternative building technology structure.