chief ASKs Premier to aid ailing hospital

MPUMALANGA Premier David Mabuza paid two hospitals a courtesy visit, where he addressed workers and greeted the sick as part of his campaign to improve service delivery in the province.

Mabuza, who was accompanied by health MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu and head of the department Sibongile Zungu, first visited the Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit before proceeding to Themba Hospital in KaBokweni.

He said he had noticed that construction work at Rob Ferreira was taking a long time to complete.

"Every time I pass here I become concerned about why we are not finishing construction. I decided that we have to find a way to assist if there is a problem," Mabuza said.

Mahlangu said Rob Ferreira was one of the hospitals that would treat visitors during the 2010 World Cup tournament and that it was necessary to make sure the renovations as well as the construction of additional sections to the hospital were completed on time.

Regarding complaints by the public that hospital authorities were not attending to patients on time, especially at night, Mabuza blamed the poor service on the disturbances caused by construction work.

Mabuza then visited the hospital wards where he spoke to road accident victim Sicelo Khoza before talking to manager of operational emergency Mavis Mkhwanazi.

Mkhwanazi told Mabuza that her section was understaffed and that she "would be happy if more nurses were appointed".

Trauma and emergency official Richard Ntimane said 20 posts for professional nurses were advertised last year but only six candidates had applied.

Nurses and general workers were waiting for Mabuza outside the hospital, where they spoke about their own frustrations.

They complained about not being graded to higher levels and told Mabuza he could make a difference to their working conditions.

One of the general workers, George Ndlovu of KaNyamazane near Nelspruit, told Mabuza that he was employed at the hospital in 1979 as a gardener and had remained one until now.

"I don't have a uniform, look at what I'm wearing Mr Premier!" he said.

"I have passed matric and have a Code 10 driver's licence. I also drive the hospital's vehicles but my worry is that I continue to earn a gardener's salary."