Deputy Speaker, on Friday, the 104-year-old McCord Hospital is set to close, mainly because negotiations between the provincial health department and the board of the hospital have failed.
The reduction in funding, specifically when the department refused to renew the annual subsidy to the hospital, has now forced the hospital to close its doors. This will mean that all hospital staff will be unemployed, but the greatest casualty will be Durban's poor, as they were the main recipients of health care services. It is unacceptable that this hospital is being allowed to close down. The provincial health department should have ensured that this closure did not happen. As we celebrate Heritage Day on 24 September, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial health department should be treating McCord Hospital as part of Durban's heritage, as it has been operating for 104 years. All avenues should be exhausted before allowing such a hospital to shut down, because it means we are neglecting to preserve the very heritage we claim to celebrate, while at the same time removing accessible health care from the reach of the poor. I thank you. [Applause.]