At 4.45pm the leaders emerged to take a peek at the smoldering insides. They were followed by the pack of reporters.
They could only look in from the entrance to parking lot three because it was too dangerous to enter. Structural damage had been reported there and the 30-odd people risked collapsing the floor.
On Tuesday this week cars were still parked inside the building and the constant pouring of water was heard from a burst pipe. The flare-up had been so quick and hot that everything remained behind - even the security guard’s vetkoek.
Mkhize was joined by Gauteng premier David Makhura, provincial health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, hospital CEO Gladys Bogoshi and MEC for infrastructure development and property management Tasneem Motara.
The minister said earlier predictions that it would take a week before the hospital reopened were unrealistic as they would not have an accurate timeframe until the damage had been inspected.
Motara said the building would be underpinned on Wednesday to allow police entry for forensic investigation to determine the exact cause of the fire. Thereafter the department would do their own investigation and then the repairs could begin.
The initial inspection pointed to structural damage in the car park area in which a floor has collapsed. There was damage to the hospital building near the area where the fire started in the dispensary.
Mkhize said parts of the floor could collapse but would need thorough inspection.
The cost of the building repair is yet to be determined but an estimated R40m in medical supplies and personal protective equipment was part of what the minister called “a huge amount of destruction”.