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Gauteng government cannot rule out sabotage in recurring hospital fires

Steve Biko Hospital the latest victim of a blaze on Monday morning

30 May 2022 - 15:08
Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi. File photo.
Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The Gauteng health department has not ruled out sabotage being behind fires at public hospitals.

A fire broke out at Steve Biko Hospital in the early hours of Monday morning.

Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said it was bizarre that the department had to contend with fires almost every year.

It was in this context that the possibility of deliberate foul play could not be ruled out.

The Charlotte Maxeke Hospital's casualty unit recently reopened a year after a fire broke out at the facility.

Addressing media on Monday, Mokgethi said her department would get to the bottom of the problem.

“Of course [we suspect] there is [sabotage], you cannot have fires year after year,” she said.

“It looks like every year in the department of health we have to deal with fires, but we are doing something on that. I will be getting a report this afternoon [Monday], especially on the Charlotte [Maxeke Hospital] issue.

“On the Steve Biko Hospital, I did receive a report that the tents that were used, one of them caught fire. There were about five patients in the next tent, but they managed to evacuate without incident and the fire did not spread to the main hospital.

“The tent that burnt down was donated by Old Mutual and I am still waiting for the incident report from the CEO to get details and we await the police to do their own investigation into the cause of the fire.”

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