Recent flooding at the National District Hospital in Bloemfontein that caused an outcry over safety of the workers and patients was not due to neglect by the Department of Health.Mondli Mvambi, spokesperson of the department, explained that there was ongoing upgrade work at the hospital. Two separate incidents of flooding occurred at this hospital, one of the oldest in the Free State. The first water flooding incident was reported on 12 August with the other one four days later, on 16 August. “The incident on 12 August was caused by water taps that were left open, while the pipe burst on 16 August was caused by the contractors who are refurbishing the hospital. Construction workers accidentally interfered with a water pipe causing it to burst and affecting the maternity ward,” said Mvambi.Both these incidents affected the maternity ward. Mvambi said no injuries were reported as a result of the two separate flooding incidents.“The refurbishments of the hospital are continuing and are done for the best interest of the patients to experience better health care. “We cannot afford to close the hospital due to renovations. We have to repair it like a Boeing being repaired whilst in flight,” said Mvambi. He said in both instances water was contained without causing any serious damage to property or impeding service provision. “There was a temporary inconvenience to the patients and the medical staff because it was an unusual occurrence. “However, no adverse events were experienced, and no patient slept on the floor as it was sensationalized by political parties enquiring on the situation and falsely reporting about it,” said Mvambi.Photos were posted on social media with some staff members lamenting the risk of working under such conditions. Images showed water running down the walls and soaking floors in one ward.Renovation work at this health facility has been ongoing since 2017. Upgrades were done in the hospital kitchen after it was gutted by a fire in November 2017. For upgrading the kitchen and the garage, the department reportedly budgeted R51 million. However, the department had to fork out extra cash for the renovation of the kitchen after it was destroyed by fire. An investigation into the cause of the fire was subsequently launched.According to Mvambi, the upgrading of the entire hospital was estimated to cost the department R100 million. Renovation of the patients’ wards is estimated at R46 million. Mvambi said renovation work is expected to be completed in 2020.