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25 June 2021

Hospersa, a Union of more than 60 000 healthcare workers in the public and private health sector, has welcomed the move to reopen sections of the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Gauteng as the country continues its fight against the COVID-19.  The Gauteng Province has been confirmed as South Africa’s epicentre of the third wave of the pandemic by accounting to more than 50% of the country’s active cases.  Hospersa has called on government to do all it can for the province to overcome this storm including tighter lockdown regulation in identified hotspot areas, restriction of movement between provinces, increasing the pace of vaccinations, relooking at available options for site hospitals and bringing forward the public schools holiday to allow for limited movement during the current peak.

During yesterday’s media briefing, the Gauteng Premier announced that parts of the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital will reopen from Monday, 28 June 2021.  The hospital had been closed since April this year following a fire which affected parts of the building.  The Premier reported that the parts which will reopen are those that were not structurally affected by the fire and they include the Oncology unit.  The reopening of this hospital could not have come sooner as the Gauteng Province has seen soaring numbers of new COVID-19 infections.  From the country’s total number of 141 910 confirmed cases, Gauteng accounts for more than 50% of them with 74 588 active cases.  Hospersa has welcomed the decision to reopen the hospital albeit the province is already under a lot of strain due to the ravaging third wave.

“Hospersa welcomes the reopening of Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital,” said Hospersa Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Mbuso Shozi.  “We note that the hospital has not met all the safety regulations but considering the crisis the province finds itself in, we support the Premiers announcement.  This crisis again demonstrates the poor management of the public health sector ravaged by poor infrastructure, maladministration and unabated corruption,” said Shozi.

“The Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital plays an important role in providing expert medical services to the province as seen during the country’s first and second wave of the pandemic,” said Shozi.  “Our members have been working under a lot of strain since the closure of the hospital and the situation has been exacerbated by a third wave which has gripped the province.  Having the hospital operational again will assist with managing the recent wave” added Shozi.

“All recent statistics have confirmed that Gauteng is the epicentre of the country’s third wave,” said Shozi.  “We appeal to government to take all necessary decisions and steps for the province to overcome the current peak.  These include tighter lockdown regulation measures in areas with most number of active cases, increased vaccination pace and the reopening of site hospitals for additional beds,” added Shozi.

“Hospersa is also of the view that public schools’ holidays in Gauteng should be brought forward,” said Shozi.  “We have seen in increase school closures in the province due to increased infection rate.  Bringing forward public schools’ holidays will allow for less movement and provide government with an opportunity to focus on rapidly vaccinating teachers during the short winter break,” argued Shozi.

“While new positive cases in the province soar, government continues to be attentive in making key decisions which could boost our fight against the pandemic.  It should not be left to healthcare workers to continue shouldering the burden of putting out fires in an overwhelmed health care system on the brink of collapse,” concluded Shozi.





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