Mr Speaker, during my recent oversight visit to Winburg Hospital in Makeleketla, I discovered that the facility is extremely understaffed. The problems I encountered at Winburg Hospital are as follows: a vacancy for a hospital manager since 2011; eight professional medical positions have been frozen; due to the staff shortage, this 72-bed capacity medical facility can utilise only 23 beds; the maternity ward does not have a dedicated midwife; the operating theatre has been closed due to the staff shortage; the hospital's security is compromised, with only one security guard at a time, sometimes with no security guard at the gate; personnel absenteeism due to long working hours; and some members of the staff have developed stress-related illnesses. Yesterday I was told that during lunchtime, patients were given porridge - not with milk, but with tea!
Unfortunately, despite the medical professionals' best efforts, Winburg Hospital does not function as it is supposed to. For many years the DA has been calling on the provincial government to prioritise the critical staff shortage. The current MEC for health, Ntate Benny Malakoane, seems to be too busy dealing with corruption charges against him to be able to attend to the problem in his department. It is for this reason that the DA has been calling for his suspension. Thank you. [Applause.]