According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Orsmond Tuberculosis Hospital in Kariega has been closed to patients for almost two years. Despite this, medical staff at the hospital have continued receiving their salaries, amounting to R67 million.
Employees Refuse to be Allocated to Other Medical Facilities
The 45 employees at the hospital allegedly refused to be allocated to other medical facilities in the district. This has led to accusations that the Eastern Cape Department of Health has been paying R67 million in salaries to staff at a hospital which has been effectively closed for two years.
Shocking Revelation Made in Response to Parliamentary Question
According to Eastern Cape Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) Jane Cowley, this shocking revelation was made in response to a parliamentary question from the DA. The department acknowledged that the hospital has had no patients for almost two years.
“Forty-five medical employees refused to be allocated to other medical facilities in the district, despite this being agreed to by their unions,” Cowley said.
Labour Dispute Being Managed
Further answers to Cowley’s questions revealed that the labour dispute was being managed and an agreement had already been reached. “With labour in the interim and while the bigger organisation-wide service delivery optimisation and organogram is under review, the remaining staff will be gainfully employed,” she was told.
The redeployment of staff is expected to be finalised in June.
Dire Staff Shortages at Hospitals and Clinics Across Province
Cowley expressed concern about the situation, pointing out that hospitals and clinics across the province are dealing with dire staff shortages. “Instead of filling these vacant posts, the department pays staff at a defunct institution millions for absolutely no work,” she said.
Over the past two years, these employees have notched up salaries of over R67 million for doing nothing. Cowley called this a “flagrant disregard for the taxpayers’ purse” and an “absolute disgrace.”
Demand for Immediate Action
Cowley added that she had written to Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth demanding that the matter be attended to immediately. “The department’s continued financial mismanagement, mismanagement of resources, and failure to discipline non-compliant employees do not augur well for the future,” she said. “Our citizens deserve better.”
News reporters reached out to the department and Meth’s spokesperson for comment. Their responses will be added once received.