The inferno that has devastated the Bank of Lisbon building and claimed the lives of three firefighters is symbolic of the meltdown in Gauteng’s health services. A form of gutting of the provincial department of health’s offices happened three months before the fire, when furniture and computers were removed by the sheriff of the court. An official told the DA’s Jack Bloom that it was "a blessing in disguise" that the sheriff had the computers. Gauteng spokesperson Thabo Masebe said: "We hope we will be able to stabilise the finances and ensure that the department continues to function and render services…." But at the coalface, a picture emerges of the failure of service delivery at public health facilities across the board, manifesting in miscommunication between management and health-care professionals, enormous queues and waiting lists, frozen posts, and a fear of speaking out. Most health professionals interviewed for this article asked not to be named. "We are not allowed to s...

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