Middelburg Hospital borrows a generator to function during loadshedding

Issued by Jane Sithole, MPL – DA Spokesperson on Health: Mpumalanga Province
19 May 2023 in Press Releases

The DA in Mpumalanga is extremely worried that Middelburg Hospital was forced to borrow a generator to function as their own was not working last weekend. 

According to health workers who contacted the DA for help, Middelburg hospital’s efforts have been severely hampered by Stage 6 loadshedding over this past weekend, and although the hospital does have its own generator, it did not function last weekend as it needed repairs leading to a crisis where healthcare workers had to use blankets to warm up new-born babies as incubators were not functioning. 

The hospital had to borrow a generator from Bethal. This borrowed generator only arrived on Monday evening and started working on Tuesday this week. Whenever there’s an electricity crisis caused by loadshedding they can’t perform emergency surgeries as the theatre and air-conditioning would not be working. 

This situation is completely unacceptable. Life support machines require electricity to operate effectively, and a lot of the medication and most vaccinations require electricity to be kept cool in refrigerators. 

Noting the fact that loadshedding has been around for several years, and the fact that it is only going to get much worse as we approach winter, the DA calls on this provincial government to: 

  • Ensure that each healthcare facility in the province has at least one working generator, with enough fuel to ensure that both medicine and lives are not lost during periods of loadshedding. 
  • And to ensure that regular maintenance is carried out on these generators to prevent situations like the above. 

On Thursday, the DA submitted a motion without notice in the Mpumalanga Legislature asking them to consider the above two proposals. To our shock, the ANC majority defeated the motion. Does this mean the ANC does not care about patients affected by loadshedding and dysfunctional generators in hospitals? In grand ANC style, they fail to apply their minds before defeating the motion, they are more concerned about playing petty politics by defeating a good useful solution focused motion simply because the motion came from the DA. 

This kind of backward thinking is what has brought our public health system to collapse. The ANC must stop their petty politicking and put the residents first.