EFF march against ‘appalling’ Middelburg hospital conditions


Issues range from patients being forced to take cold showers to sleeping with dirty linen and shortages of staff.

Lucas Shongwe

The EFF in the Nkangala region says they were shocked at the conditions at the Middelburg district hospital when they made an earlier visit, causing them to march this week and submit a memorandum.

Scores of party members, supporters and community members brought the CBD to a standstill in order to voice out their concern for a failing public healthcare institution.

Regional leader Poppy Mailola said they first made a visit to the hospital on 24 August 2018 and were very shocked at the appalling conditions that patients and staff are forced to endure.

“It’s very shocking what our foot solders found there,” Mailola said.

“There is a shortage of doctors and nurses, beds and blankets. There is poor supply or total shortage of medicine. Patients are forced to take a cold shower because the geysers are not working and linen is dirty due to dysfunctional laundry machines, the list is endless.

“What was supposed to be the place of healing has now turned into something else, I’d say a place of death,” she said.

The marchers walked from the Mhluzi shopping mall to Joubert Park in town, where they were addressed by their leaders before shooting straight to deliver a memorandum. They say the hospital is dilapidated.

“What is painful is that this hospital is being used by the majority of poor black people who do not have medical aid to go to private clinics and hospitals. So we want things to change. People should understand that their solution lies on their hands,” Mailola said.

“They have the power to remove the corrupt ANC government from power. Our hope lies in a new government that respects the constitutional rights of all our people to life,” she said when speaking to the 013NEWS reporter on the sidelines of their march.

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Their memorandum demands things should change at the hospital.

It reads: “We have noted that the state of public healthcare is in a crisis. Poor people go to hospitals not to get life, care and recovery but to be humiliated, condemned and driven to early death.

“Our public health institutions have no basic facilities, buildings are collapsing, machines are broken and there are no skilled healthcare practitioners,” it said.

“The elderly in our society no longer want to go to hospital because of the abuse they receive from the healthcare practitioners,” the memorandum reads.

“The HIV/AIDS patients are openly called in queues to receive medication, humiliating them and thus adding to the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS. It is common knowledge that there is a shortage of doctors and nurses in all hospitals in the province of Mpumalanga”.

EFF wants the hospital management to respond to all their demands in atleast 14 days.

Hospital boss Maake Modise, who received the memorandum, said some of the issues highlighted are true and some are not.

“On the issue of the shortage of beds, we do have enough beds,” Modise said.

“As a district hospital level 1, we do referrals most of the times so you may find that the shortage of beds is at the referral hospital,” he said.

“And also we are not allowed to appoint specialist doctors. Appointment of specialists is done by level 2 and 3 hospitals.

“We do have channels of complaints in the form of suggestion boxes inside the hospital, if people are not using those channels to lodge complaints, we might not be aware of them,” the CEO said.

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