Oxygen shortage threat at Phoenix hospital: Simelane-Zulu

Oxygen shortage threat at Phoenix hospital: Simelane-Zulu

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has warned that unless the situation changes, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital will soon run out of oxygen. 

KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu
Facebook: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government Facebook

The Phoenix-based facility is relying on a skeleton staff as the unrest and road blockades this week has prevented many employees from going to work. 


"We are going to run short in the next couple of days if Afrox is not given an opportunity to replenish. We have realised that in eThekwini and in uMgungundlovu in particular, there are facilities that have been under threat. 


"Although the facility itself was not attacked but the biggest challenge around this hospital is the access. Our staff are unable to access the facility even patients that have been inside, or that was admitted have not been able to leave." 


Simelani-Zulu also visited Ekuhlengeni Psychiatric Hospital near KwaMakhutha where looting took place. 


She says patients are still traumatised by what they witnessed. 

READ: Unrest could have affected Covid-19 testing, warns NICD


"It is a very difficult situation if a centre like this is meant to two or three districts you can imagine how many patients are there and the fact that you had a mob that actually came into the site and disturbed these patients is disturbing to us, but it is extremely traumatising for them."

Residents in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and across Durban were waking up to the news, this time last week, that protest action against the jailing of former president, Jacob Zuma, was taking place. 

Since then, it's spiralled into rolling demonstrations and mayhem, with looters running amok, trashing a host of properties and streets.

The death toll from the violent unrest, stampedes and violent clashes with police have claimed at least 91 lives in KwaZulu-Natal. 

More than 2 200 arrests have made across both provinces.

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