MEC turns away food donations at crisis-hit hospital

2013-10-03 00:00

FURIOUS locals blockaded a Kokstad hospital entrance yesterday after bakkie loads of food intended as a donation for patients were turned away at the gates on the instructions of KwaZulu-Natal’s Health MEC.

Local farmers and businesses were rallied by the Kokstad Round Table to donate some R10 000 worth of food to the Usher Memorial Hospital after a month-long food delivery crisis there.

The crisis was sparked by the alleged failure of a contractor to ensure food deliveries to the state hospital, resulting in patients being served only pap and beans three times a day.

But when the Good Samaritans arrived at the hospital gates they were in for a shock when their delivery of two bakkies of food was turned away.

Chairperson of the Kokstad Round Table Fred Scheepers, said: “The only thing we are worried about are the patients because they need the best food while recovering in hospital”

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo claimed the food crisis had been resolved and would not accept the delivery.

The hospital’s benefactors said the refusal was a “slap in the face” and blockaded the hospital entrance in protest.

“We were not even aware that the MEC would be at the the hospital. We just wanted to help out in the hospital. We did not, and still do not, have any hidden agenda,” Scheepers explained.

“It is unfortunate and very disappointing that this issue has now been politicised because we are not even in politics, we did not do this to embarrass anyone,” he said.

Outside the hospital Scheepers asked Dhlomo why he had taken so long to deal with the food crisis there. Dhlomo responded that he would not discuss the issue with him.

“Thank you, but we will not accept food from the community because we have resolved the food issue at the hospital, and another thing, there are processes to be followed when donating food to a hospital, because we don’t know where the meat and milk was taken from and how it was packaged,” Dhlomo said.

The Kokstad Round Table donated the food to a local children’s home instead.

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