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Parliament, Friday, 13 April 2018 – Staff shortages relating to the high number of disciplinary hearings and firing of senior staff members at the Khayelitsha District hospital (KDH) are some of the major issues hampering service delivery to the community of Khayelitsha.

Head nurses in various departments complained of the immense pressure faced by staff on a daily basis. In the ante-natal clinic, Sister Elizabeth Brock said the agency which appoints staff sends a different person on a daily basis, which means that they have to supervise and train new staff every day and this causes delays in delivering services to the people.

During their walkabout, the committee witnessed a number of patients lying on the floor and a large number of patients slumped up in chairs, having been there since 12 noon the previous day. The hospital is said to face a severe shortage of beds as patients are assisted according to the severity of their illnesses. Dr Anwar Kharwa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital said that it becomes especially challenging over the weekends when the hospital faces a spike in trauma cases relating to violence. KHD is also having to carry the burden of patients from surrounding areas such as Mfuleni and Mitchells Plain, said Dr Kharwa.

Committee Chairperson, Mr Dumisani Ximbi, said that complaints received from various community organisations and whistle-blowers have often compared KDH to Jooste Hospital with many saying “people merely come here to die”.

“The buildings and equipment at KDH are of high standard but the service delivered to the community of Khayelitsha is displeasing and unacceptable,” said Mr Ximbi. The hospital is failing the people of Khayelitsha and hospital management needs to take responsibility for this by reporting their challenges to the Provincial Department of Health.

The Committee noted with grave disappointment the deliberate absence of Dr Michael Phillips, Head of Khayelitsha Eastern Substructure Office who was directly contacted by Mr Ximbi upon the Committee’s arrival at KSD. Mr Ximbi said this is unacceptable since neither Dr Phillips, his Deputy or Human Resources Managers, availed themselves for this very important oversight in which the Committee received a first-hand experience of the numerous challenges facing the hospital.

Mr Ximbi instructed Dr Kharwa and the Hospital Board Members present, to provide the Committee with a comprehensive report on the large number of cases relating to disciplinary hearings, firing of staff, and the various obstacles faced by the hospital.

The visit follows a petition received from Ms Nobuntu Fuzane, directing complaints against the KDH staff for negligence and findings in relation to the submissions made during hearings that there has been poor and incomplete record keeping from the KDH staff. The committee is soon to table its report relating to the case raised by Ms Fuzane.


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