KZN Stops Funding Pongola Hospital
KwaZulu-Natal will no longer fund Pongola Hospital in the Zululand district, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.
The state-funded hospital's application for money was turned down this year because the department's coffers were empty, spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said.
It had funded the 28-bed hospital for the past 40 years.
Democratic Alliance health spokeswoman Makhosazana Mdlalose criticised the department's decision. She said a vital health service would be lost to the communities of Pongola, Mpumalanga and Swaziland, which the hospital serviced.
Mdlalose called on the department to reverse its decision.
The Inkatha Freedom Party's health spokeswoman Hilda Msweli said 43 people would lose their jobs and locals would have to travel 36km to the nearest hospital.
"Billions have been spent on consultants, R206 million spent on Nkandla and even R40 to R140 million spent on a website by the Free state provincial government yet government does not seem fazed at these amounts spent unnecessarily. Yet no one can seem to find R3.8 million for a hospital to function."
She questioned whether the decision to close the hospital was political.
"Are the people of Pongola being punished for voting for the IFP?" she asked.
Comment could not immediately be obtained from the hospital.
Durban's 103-year-old McCord Hospital was also under threat of closure after it lost its state subsidy, but its doors remained open after a last minute deal was brokered at the end of January for the hospital to be taken over by the KwaZulu-Natal health department.