Johannesburg – Public hospitals and clinics in Gauteng suffered 181 generator failures this year because of a shortage of diesel during load shedding, and they spent R42 million on running their generators.
Acting Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, revealed this in response to questions tabled in the Gauteng legislature by the DA’s Jack Bloom
Nkomo-Ralehoko also said that Tshwane was hit the hardest by fuel shortages, with its clinics running out of diesel 98 times; in Johannesburg, generators in clinics ran out 52 times; in the Vaal area there were 15 incidents of diesel shortage and there were 5 incidents at Ekurhuleni clinics.
According to the acting MEC, Tembisa Hospital ran out of diesel six times this year, Sebokeng Hospital had two such incidents, and the Far East Rand, Bronkhorstspruit and Heidelberg hospitals each had a single incident of fuel shortage.
Meanwhile, R42.5 million has been spent on diesel for generators so far this year, which is nearly double the R22.5 million spent in the same period last year.
According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, the increase is due to inflation, price adjustment as per a contract signed off with the National Treasury, rate of consumption due to load shedding and other variables.
“The National Treasury contract has resulted in a number of suppliers awarded the tender per province. The inability of the main contractor has led to other substitutes appointed to assist in the supply of diesel. The issue of load shedding increased demand, which directly impacted on the appointed contractor’s ability to supply large quantities and on time,” she said.
Bloom said he was alarmed by the frightening number of generator failures due to fuel shortages as they disrupted health services and put lives in danger.
“There should never be a diesel shortage as it is a readily available product. Hospital and clinic managers should always monitor their diesel supplies closely and ensure they have enough to run during power failures,” he said.
He added that as load shedding and other power outages continued, it was vital that generators in hospitals and clinics were properly maintained.