First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

Poor maintenance blamed for flooding at Klerksdorp hosp...

South Africa

NORTH WEST

Poor maintenance blamed for flooding at Klerksdorp hospital

Workers sweep away water after more rainfall a day after parts of Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp were flooded. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Doctors, emergency services workers and hospital staff battled till the early hours of Friday morning to clear floodwater from Tshepong Hospital after a downpour.

North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha blamed poor planning and maintenance for the recent flooding of Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp when he visited to assess the impact of the flooding.

North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha (middle of the image with a yellow bib) visits Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp to assess the impact of the flooding. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

A heavy downpour and water streaming in from a nearby township blocked the hospital’s drainage system, which resulted in the flooding and forced the temporary closure of the casualty and outpatient departments, its kit room and parts of its pharmacy.

A woman leaves the hospital pharmacy. Parts of the pharmacy were affected. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Patients were safely moved into wards and ambulances and emergencies were diverted to Klerksdorp Hospital as doctors, emergency services workers and hospital staff battled till the early hours of Friday morning (15 January) to clear away the water. No patients were affected and the hospital was fully operational within less than 24 hours.

Water surrounds Tshepong Hospital trauma unit. Patients were safely moved into wards. Ambulances and emergencies were diverted to Klerksdorp Hospital. (Photo: Supplied)

Dr Israel Mahume said: “It started off as a small rain, it lasted an hour, to an hour and a half. That is when the flood started. It was very bad. The staff that were there managed to start cleaning up as soon as the rain stopped. 

Hospital staff battled until the early hours sweeping away the water. (Photo: Supplied)

“Everybody came on board with a broom and swept the water away. It was a very tough job and even our CEO was present. Our chief directors and some of our management were also there. 

A security guard at the trauma unit entrance. The hospital was fully operational less than 24 hours after the flooding. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

“The fire department and Emergency Medical Rescue Services were also called. It took around 18 hours before we could open the casualty [ward] again.” 

A worker examines a gutter at flood-hit Tshepong Hospital. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Hospital CEO Thulane Madonsela dismissed allegations of a leaking roof and said, “The drainage system could not carry the load of water coming from the other side that went into the hospital. So it’s not what other people are saying. The MEC is here and the director that is responsible for infrastructure is here and they have already started with a tractor to dig up the sand that was blocking the tunnel, so that the water can go through.”

Tshepong Hospital workers walk past a section covered in mud. Poor planning and maintenance have been blamed for the flooding. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

MEC Sambatha commended hospital staff: “I am pleased with how swiftly the facility was brought back to normal operations. I commend the work done by the municipality’s fire department to drain the water from all the affected areas. Equally, our workers have done a tremendous job cleaning the facility overnight.”

Hospital CEO Thulane Madonsela dismissed allegations of a leaking roof. ‘The drainage system could not carry the load of water coming from the other side that went into the hospital.’ (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)
A wheelchair surrounded by mud outside the trauma unit. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

With regard to the drainage system, departmental spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said, “This matter has been tabled as an emergency at the District Command Council and it is receiving attention. The municipality has also been made aware of the drainage systems challenges in the area and there are discussions already to consider this as an intergovernmental relations project.” DM

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 2

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted