Crackdown on health workers who violated women's rights, and a new Shaka statue in KZN Sopa

04 March 2020 - 16:01 By Zimasa Matiwane
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala delivers his state of the province address on Wednesday.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala delivers his state of the province address on Wednesday.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

A warning of consequence management for health care workers who violated the rights of HIV-positive women without their consent, prepaid electricity and water options for Durban ratepayers, and a nod for a new statue of King Shaka at the province's main airport.

These were among the issues detailed in the comprehensive report-back by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala in his state of the province address in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

Zikalala has vowed that there will be consequences for any health professional found to have sterilised HIV-positive women without their consent or through coercion.

This follows the Commission for Gender Equality report which investigated alleged forced and coerced sterilisation.

“We condemn the ill-treatment and disregard for the rights of patients and their families by some of our health workers. We are disturbed by the findings of the Gender Commission into the allegations of forced sterilisation of HIV-positive women in the health sector,” he said.

The report, which accounts only for documented cases, characterised forced or coerced sterilisation in public hospitals of women living with HIV in SA as “cruel, torturous, inhumane and degrading treatment”.

In KZN, the commission visited Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, Addington Hospital, Stanger Hospital, Albert Luthuli Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, Hlabisa Hospital, Lower Umfolozi Hospital, Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital and GC Crookes Hospital.

Zikalala said the province would co-operate with ongoing investigations. “There will be consequence management, unprofessional conduct in our health care system is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

He also announced that prepaid water and electricity is in the pipeline for eThekwini residents.

“The municipality will accelerate the implementation of prepaid metering,” he said.

eThekwini residents have for years been experiencing utility billing bungles and electricity disconnections.

Zikalala said after changes in the eThekwini executive committee in September last year, interventions were implemented to ease the burden of municipal errors and poor service delivery such as non-collection of refuse for residents.

“The ratepayers in eThekwini have consistently complained about the billing system, with households claiming to be paying exorbitant monthly water and electricity bills.

“To deal with the challenge of refuse collection, eThekwini has also procured new fleet, new landfill sites and workers focusing on solid waste have been insourced,” he said.

The metro had also approved an investment strategy which will see the city injecting more than R500m in the next three years for cleaning and solid waste management.

The premier said visitors who land at King Shaka International Airport may soon be greeted by a statue of the founder of the Zulu nation, 10 years after a previous sculpture of Shaka was removed from the airport.

He said this would be done in a bid to “preserve the rich, diverse heritage of the province”. Zikalala also believes the move will boost economic development in the province.

“The provincial government is ready for the erection of the King Shaka statue to be processed in the 2020/2021 financial year.”

In 2010 the Shaka statue was removed three years after its erection when the Zulu royal household complained that it was not a true depiction of the Zulu warrior king.