Eastern Cape premier, minister meet in urgent bid to stop Frere Hospital closure

East London’s Frere Hospital. Image: Daily Dispatch

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane on Saturday night met with labour minister Thulas Nxesi in an attempt to reverse the decision to close the hospital for failing to comply with Covid-19 health and safety requirements.

The hospital was on Tuesday served with a shutdown order by East London-based labour inspector Apiwe Maxontana.

The notice states that conditions at the hospital “threaten, or are likely to threaten, the health and/or safety of persons”.

Covid-19 : Shut down Frere Hospital now, labour department insists

The hospital was accused of failing to provide adequate measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, including access control.

In a joint statement, Mabuyane and Nxesi said that “it is important that government institutions, especially hospitals that provide health care to the public, comply with all the regulations and laws set up by government.”

They said that the provincial health department had claimed that many of the labour department’s issues had already been resolved and they had agreed for a follow-up inspection at the hospital by the labour department on Sunday.

The two politicians said that they would not be drawn into a court battle, saying that they “agreed that government cannot resolve its matters in the courts of law without exploring existing intergovernmental relations platforms and avenues.”

The departments and premier’s office are waiting for the new inspection report and will decide on a path forward based on the outcome.

By Luke Charter and Ray Hartle – DispatchLIVE

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