Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
2 minute read
1 Feb 2021
5:15 am

Investigation into Tembisa Hospital ‘the tip of the iceberg’, says DA

Marizka Coetzer

DA shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said the Tembisa Hospital should have never been converted to a Covid-19 Hospital.

The main entrance of the Tembisa Hospital in Tembisa near Kempton Park, 20 January 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

Shocking details about the gross negligence surrounding the death of Shonisani Lethole at the Tembisa Hospital saw the suspension of the hospital’s chief executive officer (CEO) over the weekend.

Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital CEO Dr Lekopane Mogaladi was served with a letter of suspension from the Gauteng health department.

Last week, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba briefed the media following an investigation into the death of Lethole in June 2020.

Lethole’s body was found in rigor mortis stage days after his tweet-plead to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize about the conditions at the hospital.

In a second case, Jane Sichali from Malawai has also accused a Tembisa Hospital doctor of switching off the ventilators keeping her brother alive without the family’s consent.

Lloyd Kacheche died on 8 December last year, after the life support was allegedly switched off.

On Friday, the Gauteng department of health said the CEO of Tembisa Hospital was served with a notice to place him on precautionary suspension.

“The notice of intention to place the CEO on precautionary suspension was served on Friday in terms of Chapter 7 of the Senior Management Service Handbook, 2003, as a result of the Health Ombud’s Report into the death of Lethole at Tembisa Hospital,” said MEC for Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.

Kekana said as part of the standard labour practices, the CEO has been afforded an opportunity to make representations, within five working days of receipt of the notice, regarding the intention to place him on precautionary suspension.

“The department wishes to reiterate its commitment to implementing the recommendations of the report by the Health Ombuds into the circumstances surrounding the care and death of Lethole at Tembisa Hospital within legal prescripts,” said Kekana.

Wits University School of Governance Professor Alex van den Heever said what has happening at Tembisa Hospital is not a rarity.

“This is the outcome of years of crony appointments into the Gauteng department of health,” said Van den Heever.

“A clean-up of the entire administration is required, together with the introduction of new governance regimes that remove opportunities for patronage appointment. This CEO clearly had no interest in running a hospital.”

Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said the only reason why Lethole’s death was investigated was because he tweeted the minister who got the Ombud to investigate the matter.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other Gauteng hospitals where, if investigated, similar results would be found,” he said.

Bloom said the Tembisa Hospital should have never been converted to a Covid-19 Hospital.

“The hospital is under-resourced, understaffed, and has a poor system,” he said.

Bloom said basic care, such as installing a feeding tube and analysing the patient’s results, were never done by staff.

“The recommendations in the report must be implemented.”

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