PORT Alfred Hospital security and staff seemed taken aback last Thursday when EFF members of the provincial legislature unexpectedly showed up to deliver a petition.
TotT was alerted that the group would be visiting the hospital and covered the story.
As the group approached the hospital gate security guards appeared nervous. The same atmosphere prevailed when the group entered the hospital offices. They asked for the administration offices which they were led to. When they entered the office they came across a woman who appeared startled.
EFF regional convener Litha Zibula noticed the discomfort and said: “Look, we know that the EFF is known as a violent party but we are not here to fight with anyone.”
He explained that they were at the hospital to hand over the petition to the management.
“We are EFF MPLs serving at the provincial legislature and the EFF has declared 2018 as the year of public health care,” he said. He further explained that is was a programme being conducted nationwide.
When he was about to start reading their petition the hospital administration staff member interrupted him to say that she was procedurally forbidden from commenting on the matters unless authorised. She said management was not aware of the EFF visit, which is why other management members were absent.
But local EFF member Xolisa Runeli provided a proof of an e-mail which was sent to hospital management. Zibula discontinued reading the petition, but explained what it was about.
He said the EFF understood that public hospitals are facing challenges that are beyond management’s powers and the EFF wanted to be an additional voice at a provincial level and possibly nationally if needs be.
“We are aware that public hospitals are facing issues of infrastructure, shortage of funds, and these are things that we want to address at a provincial parliament,” he said.
He asked staff members to report issues of problems with machinery which is not fixed on time. “We want to work with you and be your direct voice in parliament,” he said.
He further said it would be a continuous programme. “Look, this is a start but not the end, we will constantly visit hospitals,” he said.
When asked about the effectiveness of their plan, Zibula said: “We will engage management on a regular basis and have public meetings with community members to ensure that management and the community speak one language.”
The treatment received by the public from hospitals will be a determining factor of what more needs to be done.
The EFF MPLs asked for permission to do a walk-through to see the conditions of the wards but they were refused permission. They left an application for a walk-through for their next visit which they said will be confirmed in April.