NEWS & ANALYSIS

Salt air is not reason for broken Addington hospital lifts – DA KZN

None of the high rise hotels and blocks of flats in same area have same problem

Addington Hospital: DA rubbishes Health MEC’s claim that salt air is the reason for broken lifts

7 September 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) rubbishes the claim recently peddled by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, that the constantly broken lifts at Addington Hospital are the result of its seaside location and salt in the air.

The ridiculous comment was made during a recent meeting of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

The DA regards the MEC’s remarks as little more than a red herring to distract from both her and the KZN Department of Health’s (DoH) complete lack of regard for maintaining this vital infrastructure.

While Addington Hospital is located on Durban’s beachfront, it is also surrounded by numerous high-rise hotels and blocks of flats - none of which have problems of this magnitude with their lift facilities.

During her responses to the parliamentary COGTA Committee, MEC Simelane-Zulu also stated that there had been no recent renovations at Addington Hospital. That is also not true.

According to the DoH’s reports, more than R202 million was spent on renovations at the hospital, which included R30 million on operating theatre improvements. Foolishly, the rest of the R170 million was on the facade of the main hospital tower – a renovation which was purely aesthetic and had no impact on improving vital infrastructure in order to directly benefit patient care.

At the time, the DA indicated that these funds should have been spent on renovating the hospital’s dilapidated wards, casualty, out-patients and other treatment sections of the hospital.

Additionally, KZN’s DoH reports indicate that R13 million was allocated to improvements to the hospital’s lifts. The DA is aware that there was a contract with Schlindler Lifts to undertake this maintenance. Clearly this was either not done at all, or was not done properly as the lifts at Addington remain dysfunctional and broken.

Addington’s lift saga is just one example of the complete lack of oversight by MEC Simelane-Zulu and departmental officials across many of our province’s health institutions.

The DA in KZN has forwarded the above information to our colleagues on Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on CoGTA with the request that they urgently review whether MEC Simelane-Zulu has misled their committee with her responses.

We also expect that MEC Simelane-Zulu report to the KZN Legislature Health Portfolio Committee regarding her department's plan in terms of both the current and future infrastructure plans for Addington Hospital.

Addington Hospital provides vital health services for patients in the Central and Northern areas of Durban. The DA remains committed to the fight to ensure that all patients receive the best quality care and treatment.

Issued by Rishigen Viranna, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, 7 September 2020