Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
A KwaZulu-Natal young boy who waited two years to have his testicles operated on was told on the day of the operation at the St Aidan's Mission Hospital in Durban that his operation was cancelled because the air conditioners were not working.
Masibulele Wangaza, seven, of Port Shepstone, has a problem with his ball sac and, according to his mother Lulama Wangaza, he could be unable to bear children if the operation is not done before he turns eight. His next birthday is in a month' s time.
Wangaza is unhappy that a state hospital that deals with emergency cases and offers services to the poor had to cancel the operation because the air conditioning was faulty.
"What frustrates even more is that the hospital said I should wait for them to call me," she said.
Wangaza said it was unacceptable that they have to wait because someone forgot to make sure that the air-conditioning was in working order.
"It is irresponsible for a hospital to turn people away because of the lack of an environment that is conducive."
Workers at the hospital confirmed the problem. The extent of the air-conditioning breakdown on general services is not known but a source indicated that such problems occurred regularly.
This is not the first state hospital to have problems recently.
Health department officials said the matter would be investigated.
In February, King Edward Hospital in Durban suffered a major setback when its emergency theatre operations were grounded and only critical cases were operated on. This was said to have been because of a shortage of basic equipment in the hospital's theatre.
At the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital a similar situation arose when the hospital had to send all its fracture victims to the nearby Albert Luthuli Hospital for treatment because the hospital's equipment was broken.
The problems at state hospitals come against the provincial health department's expenditure for the 2007-2008 financial year standing at R14959billion, exceeding the R13925billion budget for the financial year by R1034billion.
It over-spent on its budget by R730million in compensation of employees and R637million for goods and services.