Poor maintenance blamed for flooding at Klerksdorp hospital
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“The fire department and Emergency Medical Rescue Services were also called. It took around 18 hours before we could open the casualty [ward] again.”
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.”
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.”
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