20 April 2020
The chairperson of the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) in KwaZulu-Natal, Mlungisi Ndlovu, has opened a criminal case against the Ekuhlengeni Psychiatric Hospital CEO and the Head of Department (HOD) in the province, Dr Sandile Tshabalala.
This comes after union members at the hospital alerted Ndlovu that they have been working without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) since the beginning of the lockdown.
Ndlovu says the hospital is putting the lives of healthcare workers and patients at risk.
“Should there be a person among them that contracts the virus, we will see a disaster in the facility just like in a few other Durban areas. The hospital together with the provincial department is failing the employees and patients by not providing PPEs,” says Ndlovu.
He says they went to the police because in the past few weeks the department has not been willing to address their concerns.
“We’ve written several letters to the MEC Nogagugu Simelane-Zulu but none of them have been answered. We further did several follow-ups but they were ignored as well. We then saw it necessary to approach the police because she had made it clear that she didn’t want to have the matter addressed,” says Ndlovu.
PSA shop steward at the hospital Bongani Gqokoma said, “We’re in trouble. It’s clear that we are going to get sick and it will go unnoticed. We’re fearful of the safety of our own health and that of the patients that we look after.”
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker confirmed that a case of contravening the Disaster Management Act was being investigated by KwaMakhutha SAPS.
Questions sent to the Department of Health on Sunday afternoon were not answered by the time of publication.