Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize
- Health Minister Zweli Mkhize described the DA
comparing the Western Cape government’s approach to Covid-19 against other
provinces as destructive.
- He says the focus should instead be on ways to
resource, improve and address weaknesses hindering quality health care.
- The minister revealed 80% of healthcare workers
infected with Covid-19 last month were from the Western Cape.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has called on the DA
to refrain from politicising the battle against the spread of the coronavirus
in the country.
“Partitioning across party lines is
destructive and we want to dissuade the DA from doing this. The government has
intervened whenever there was a need in any part of the country, and we are
always ready to support any province that is experiencing problems,” he
Mkhize was responding to claims made by the DA last
He said there was no separate plan for the Western
Cape that was not applicable throughout the country, warning against
“political point scoring”, saying there were real weaknesses that
needed everyone’s attention.
“It’s wrong for the DA to try and politicise
Covid-19 responses because the crisis is bigger than any political party.”
He accused the party, which governs the Western
Cape, of distorting weaknesses occurring across different parts of the country.
Last week, the DA, in launching its “action
plan for an incapable state”, praised the Western Cape government’s
approach to the pandemic, saying it was the only province which had successfully
managed to control the numbers pertaining to the spread of the virus.
The party’s leaders said they were outraged by
developments at healthcare facilities, highlighting their concerns over the
collapse of the sector in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
The DA also suggested the rest of the country should follow
the Western Cape’s approach to the pandemic, of which Mkhize said
there were plenty of issues there regarding its response to the virus.
He added there were different manifestations of the
pandemic across provinces.
There were and continue to be a number of weaknesses in the Western Cape which we discussed with them actually.
“When they had weak track and trace, the
highest number of cases, lowest uptake of Q&I [quarantine and isolation],
spread during lockdown, and in June, 80% of HCW infected were in Western
Mkhize said the Western Cape still had more Covid-19
deaths than any other province in the country.
He added the government was aware the pandemic had
exposed weaknesses that already existed and like everywhere else in the world,
the country’s own health systems would be tested.
Mkhize also gave a provincial breakdown of field
hospitals, adding Gauteng’s oxygen challenges had been given adequate attention
and the province had not exceed its current bed levels.
Here is a breakdown of preparations for field
hospitals, which Mkhize shared with News24:
1. Eastern Cape Port Elizabeth VW field hospital
(planned for 1 400 beds) – 35% complete.
2. Free State
2.1.Intra-Health Care Facility Surge (Field)
a. Universitas underground management parking (110
beds) – Contractor on site
b. House Idahlia (60 high care beds) – Contractor
c. MANCOVS Pelonomi (176 beds) – Contractor on site
d. M1 Pelonomi (120 beds) – Contractor on site
e. Bongani Nurses Dormitory (150 beds) – Awaiting
f. Itumeleng CHC (200 beds) – Awaiting contractors
g. Manapo Hospital Hall (53 beds) – Awaiting
h. Albert Nzula Hospital (95 beds) – Contractors on
2.2. Extra healthcare facility surge capacity
a. Bloemfontein Field Hospital (Bloemfontein
Showground: 936 to 3 316 beds) – Service level agreement signed, and planning
3. Gauteng NASREC Field hospital (500 beds) –
4. KwaZulu-Natal Royal Agriculture Showground field
hospital (254 beds) in Pietermaritzburg is operational. Three field hospitals
in Ngwelezane (113 beds), General Justice Ginzenga Mapanza (113 beds) and
Clairwood Hospital (226 beds) are still under construction.
5. Limpopo indicated it would prefer to upgrade
existing infrastructure for permanency.
6. Mpumalanga has not built any field hospitals as
7. The Northern Cape has not built any field
hospitals as yet.
8. North West Maseve field hospital (200 beds) – 90%
9. The Western Cape:
a. CTICC 870 beds – completed
b. Thusong 68 beds – completed
c. Brackengate 330 beds – Existing warehouse,
design for the facility has been completed. Planned first patient admission was
7 July 2020.
Mkhize said an extensive communications strategy to
inform the public about the pandemic had been implemented and this included
content being shared through TV and radio stations, on pamphlets, partnering
with businesses, contact activations at taxi ranks and the use of digital platforms.