- The SAHRC is probing two hospitals in Mpumalanga for alleged lack of medical services and another for water shortages.
- A complaint was lodged by the DA after residents told the party they had been turned away from the facilities.
- The provincial health department said it was unaware of the investigation.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is investigating two hospitals in Mpumalanga for alleged lack of medical services and another for water shortages.
Its provincial manager, Eric Mokonyama, told News24 on Thursday a complaint against the hospitals had been lodged by the DA in the province.
He said the hospitals under investigation for alleged lack of medical services were the Standerton Hospital in Standerton and Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas, while Mapulaneng Hospital in Bushbuckridge was being probed for alleged water shortages.
"The investigation has started, and we normally put the allegations to the respondents and give them a chance to reply.
"We then make findings and recommend corrective action … [which] may have the effect of putting corrective measures on certain individuals.
"Our involvement often brings action on the part of the respondent, but if the investigation reveals that someone has intentionally interfered with the water supply, that [interference] can attract criminal sanctions."
Mokonyama did not give details about the alleged lack of medical services at Standerton and Bernice Samuel hospitals.
He said the investigation was expected to be concluded before the end of the SAHRC's current financial year, which is in March 2022.
He insisted, however, if the investigation found a lack of water was caused by infrastructural problems such as a burst pipe, it would have to be fixed as soon as possible.
DA spokesperson on health in Mpumalanga Jane Sithole told News24 the party pinned its hopes on the SAHRC to bring about positive changes to the three affected medical facilities.
She said she visited Mapulaneng Hospital last week and found its taps dry on, adding its toilets were full of human waste.
"Water tanks at the hospital also did not have water," said Sithole.
"We decided to approach the commission after many people phoned us and said they were turned back when they visited these hospitals and some clinics in different areas. This is because there is no medication at these hospitals and many clinics.
"We hope the commission will put pressure on the health department and say, 'you are violating the rights of the people to healthcare services'. We trust the commission because we managed to get action from it in the past. It is a neutral body that does its best to help the people."
She added a lack of medical services, shortage of medication and water at hospitals were hampering the efforts of the government to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
When contacted for comment, Mpumalanga health department spokesperson Dumisani Malamule referred all enquiries to media liaison officer Christopher Nobela.
"The department is not aware of the investigation on this matter. Therefore, we are unable to comment further," said Nobela.
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