Tintswalo hospital has food, water and doctors, says Minister Phaahla

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said Tintswalo hospital in Mpumalanga was functioning properly. Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Newspapers.

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said Tintswalo hospital in Mpumalanga was functioning properly. Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Newspapers.

Published Apr 5, 2024


Health Minister Joe Phaahla has denied claims that Tintswalo hospital in Mpumalanga has shortages of water, lacked food for patients and, experienced infrastructure challenges.

Phaahla said the hospital has food for patients, adding it is one of the priorities for the department.

The department also allocates funds to the hospital to ensure there was food for patients. Additionally, Tintswalo has water supply after the department installed 28 Jojo tanks two years ago.

Phaahla added that there were 49 doctors at Tintswalo hospital.

He said the hospital was functioning properly and did not have challenges of water, food and medical staff.

“The official report from Mpumalanga Head of the department (HOD) of Health, Tintswalo hospital has not experienced a lack of nutritional food or food. Food is one of the department’s non-negotiable priorities to ensure that patients have access to nutritious meals.

Phaahla said a specific budget is allocated for food, enabling the hospital to seamlessly provide meals tailored to patients’ dietary needs. He added that strict food safety standards are adhered to, which ensures the safety of all meals served in the hospital.

“In 2022, the department effectively tackled the issue of water scarcity by drilling an additional borehole and installing 28 Jojo tanks, each with a capacity of 10,000 litres, at strategic locations. As a result of these initiatives, access to water is no longer a problem.

“Temporary measures were implemented to address roof leaks in the wards while awaiting hospital refurbishment in the new financial year. The hospital has sufficient medical staff to provide 24-hour services. It has a complement of 49 medical doctors comprising of 34 full-time doctors and 15 sessional, doctors,” said Phaahla, in a reply to a written parliamentary question by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member Suzan Thembekwayo.

Thembekwayo had stated that the department had to intervene at Tintswalo Hospital due to reports of a lack of water supply, shortages of food, and insufficient staffing.

But Phaahla said the issues have been attended to.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had in his State of the Nation Address used Tintswalo, South Africa’s democracy child, to highlight progress made in the last 30 years.

But political parties said Tintswalo’s story by Ramaphosa was not true and lived reality of many people born after 1994.

Ministers came to the defence of Ramaphosa, with Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi explaining how before the dawn of democracy, a rural hospital he worked in Limpopo in the 1980s operated without electricity for years.

At the time, Motsoaledi said he was the only doctor in that hospital. But today, the same hospital has almost 50 doctors, running water and electricity.

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