Homeless death: DA stands by negligence claim

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CCTV footage captures a homeless man dying before he reaches a Tshwane hospital. (Screengrab)
CCTV footage captures a homeless man dying before he reaches a Tshwane hospital. (Screengrab)
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The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng is questioning the province's health department's claim that a homeless man who died outside the Tshwane district hospital last week Tuesday was not denied access to healthcare. 

DA Gauteng spokesperson on social development Crezane Bosch said she has interviewed eyewitnesses who claimed the death was caused by alleged negligence from nurses who allegedly turned him away because he "stank". 

CCTV footage that the department used as part of its investigation shows the homeless man collapsing before he reached the clinic.

"I have not personally seen the footage, but from what I have heard, it does seem to be the same person. However, I don’t believe the CCTV footage constitutes a full investigation," she said. 

Bosch told News24 it appears the man was turned away from the clinic earlier in the day when he tried to get help. 

"I have personally, with another journalist, interviewed witnesses from the homeless community which has been recorded, which in fact confirms that the deceased was chased away earlier during the day by the security at the entrance at the street because he was stinking. He was told to go have a bath. The one witness confirmed that he assisted the deceased before he returned to the hospital and upon return, he fainted and passed away,” Bosch explained.

ALSO READ: No truth to reports homeless man was denied access to healthcare – Gauteng health MEC

The Gauteng Health Department has previously denied allegations that the deceased was not given access to healthcare on the day in question, News24 earlier reported.

"Following investigations into the alleged incident, I am convinced that the allegations that the homeless man was denied healthcare at the Tshwane facility are untrue and have no basis in fact," said Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

Masuku's spokesperson Kwara Kekana clarified that the hospital also considered the witness statement of the car guard as part of its investigation which led to the MEC concluding that the deceased died before reaching the hospital.

Kekana said the department was open to any information that may contradict its conclusions in this matter.

"We are committed to being transparent and to work with all stakeholders in fixing our health system in our province. If there is any evidence that is not consistent to the reports received, we are open to receiving that evidence," Kekana told News24 on Thursday.

"The Bill of Rights state that access to healthcare is a basic human right and therefore, nobody can be denied access to healthcare. No one is to be denied health services at our facilities." 

Meanwhile, Bosch wrote to the Tshwane District Director on Wednesday to request a meeting to discuss evidence, including witness statements and recordings detailing the sequence of events leading up to the man's death. 

"This remains a voiceless community, and we need to listen to them if they raise concerns as homelessness needs to be addressed holistically.

"I still stand firm that the investigation needs to be comprehensive and this should include the security as well as witness statements from the homeless community. But I have submitted questions to the department in this regard and will wait for the outcome," she concluded.

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