SAHRC allegedly blocked from oversights visits at KZN hospitals

2017-08-24 21:06


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Durban - The SAHRC has been prevented from conducting oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal hospitals since June, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

"Commission staff who conduct monitoring visits are generally not allowed past the security gates and are informed by security guards that only authorised personnel can enter," SA Human Rights Commission spokesperson Gushwell Brooks told News24. 

The oversight visits were a follow-up to an SAHRC report which found the KwaZulu-Natal health department guilty of violating the rights of the cancer patients at the Addington and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospitals.

"Further, staff at the hospitals have indicated to us that they are not allowed to speak about the oncology unit to anyone."

Brooks would not say if the SAHRC was considering action against the department for the alleged obstruction.

Department spokesperson Samuel Mkhwanazi had since Wednesday failed to respond to requests for comment.

'Proper treatment'

The DA on Wednesday urged the SAHRC to take legal action against KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

"MEC Dhlomo’s refusal to allow the commission to oversight must be the final nail in his coffin. Refusing a Chapter 9 institution to exercise its constitutional mandate is illegal," DA MPL and health spokesperson Imran Keeka said in a statement.

He called on KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu to fire Dhlomo.

The DA lodged a formal complaint with the SAHRC in 2016, after it came to light that cancer patients did not have access to proper treatment. There were staff shortages and not enough machines to screen, diagnose, and treat cancer.

In its 68-page report released on June 19, the SAHRC found the KwaZulu-Natal health department failed to maintain and acquire functional equipment, provide access to adequate oncology services, and monitor the health needs of cancer patients in the province.

The SAHRC called on the provincial health department to repair all oncology treatment machines, regardless of contractual disputes. 

The department should enter into interim public-private partnerships with private oncologists, medical officers, radiotherapists and oncology nurses to remedy the situation, the SAHRC said at the time.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  durban  |  health

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