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Picture: 123RF/HXDBZXY
Picture: 123RF/HXDBZXY

On May 22 Dr Tim De Maayer wrote an open letter in Daily Maverick about the horrific and heartbreaking way in which the public health system had disintegrated, specifically referring to the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

Dr De Maayer, who is the hospital’s paediatric gastroenterologist, has now been placed on precautionary suspension with immediate effect. This, for bringing attention to:

  • The intubation of children and administering of CPR by the light of mobile phones;
  • The hospital being unable to conduct an urgent computerised tomography scan of a brain, as the scanner has been broken for nearly three months;
  • Having to manage a critically ill child without the benefit of blood test results (the National Health Laboratory Services turnaround time is often more than 24 hours); and
  • A premature infant going blind because there was no functional meter (which costs less than R1,000) to monitor her oxygen delivery.

“Having worked in the public sector for 21 years, I can tell you frankly: things are falling apart,” Dr De Maayer says. These issues have been raised with management repeatedly, including reports in 2016, 2021 and on April 11 this year detailing the disastrous state of the hospital.

Gauteng premier David Makhura, who notes that the CEO of the hospital Dr Nozuko Mkabayi took the decision  regarding Dr De Maayer, has said he would “never approve any act of intimidation or victimisation of professionals and workers who speak out where things are going wrong. We need more such people in the public service.”

According to reports, Dr Mkabayi, who was appointed in January 2021, has spent only 182 days at the hospital — most of her tenure has been spent working remotely from home. Is she just another example of deployed cadre incompetence? Cadre deployment is probably the most destructive of all the ills government service has fostered on SA.

Sara Gon

Institute of Race Relations

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.

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