Acting Gauteng Health MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, has expressed disappointment at the discovery of personal protective equipment (PPE), which was found dumped in a river in Pretoria on Sunday.
A video of the dumped PPE consignment was circulated on social media at the weekend.
Mamabolo was made aware of the discovery during an inspection of facilities across the province on Sunday. The footage shows the consignment floating in a river in Irene.
“The Acting MEC visited the site where the said PPE was dumped. He expressed disappointment that people would dump PPE during a global pandemic and additionally pollute the environment. He called on the police to track down whoever is responsible and ensure that they are brought to book.
“The MEC has directed the [provincial Department of Health] to check if any of the PPE matches those at our various storage facilities,” the department said in a statement.
Since last Friday, the MEC has visited various health facilities across the province, interacting with senior managers. During the five days, Mamabolo also visited PPE storage facilities.
The department said the visits were to ensure a continuation of the comprehensive health response to COVID-19 while MEC Dr Bandile Masuku is on special leave.
Mamabolo has visited three warehouses in Centurion, Roodepoort and Vanderbiljpark to inspect PPE stock levels.
He has also visited various facilities in the five districts as follows: regional hospitals (Sebokeng, Thelle Mogoerane, Pholosong, Far East Rand, Mamemlodi, Leratong, Thambo Memorial and Edenvale); district hospitals (Kopanong, Bertha Gxowa, Jubilee, Yusuf Dadoo, Caltonville, Heideliberg and Tshwane District Hospital); tertiary hospitals (Hellen Joseph, Kalafong and Thembisa) and academic hospitals (Chris Hani Baaragwanath, Chrlotte Maxeke, Dr George Mkhari and Steve Biko), including Johan Heyns Community Health Centre and Sterkfkontein Specialised Hospital.
At the hospitals, Mamabolo discussed with senior clinical staff the management of confirmed COVID-19 positive patients, patients under investigation and the fever tents that are meant to augment designated wards for COVID-19.
Facilities were also requested to give an update on the rate of COVID-19 infection among staff members.
Mamabolo interacted with organised labour, who gave him a sense of what is happening concerning the provision of PPE to staff members. Some of the unions expressed satisfaction, while others raised concerns about the quantity of PPE provided.
“The observations made will help strengthen the response of the provincial government to contain the spread of COVID-19. Our priority continues to be saving lives and mobilising sectors of society to work together with government in the fight against Coronavirus,” said Mamabolo.