Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has visited the Niemeyer Hospital in Utrecht, northern KwaZulu-Natal to assess its state of readiness to receive COVID-19 patients as the province anticipates an increase in coronavirus infections. He was accompanied by Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zungu.

KZN currently has over 90 000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 1 000 fatalities.

There is a concern of KZN surpassing the Western Cape and Gauteng in COVID-19 cases.

Dr Zweli Mkhize says the rise of COVID-19 infections are as a result of non-compliance with lockdown regulations: 

The newly revamped Utrecht hospital will cater for patients who need isolation as well as those who need to quarantined. Dr Mkhize also walked around the health facility trying to establish what the concerns are and the challenges in KZN.

Corruption in the health sector

Dr Mkhize says corruption in the health sector will not be tolerated, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also as government gets ready to implement the National Health Insurance.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation for the SIU to investigate allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 relief funds.

He’s now also announced the formation of ministerial committee to investigate allegations of corruption related to the procurement of personal protective equipment. Justice Minister Ronald Lamola will head the committee which comprises seven cabinet ministers.

Mkhize says he supports the measures.

“All the steps that have been taken by the President and that have been announced by the minister of finance in fighting corruption, we endorse. COVID-19 is a crisis that we must not ever take advantage of. We want to make sure that we work together with Treasury to streamline the procurement processes to make sure that the procedures are all properly followed and that the quality of the PPEs are also assured. We will not accept any corruption, not only for COVID-19; we are moving forward towards National Health Insurance, we don’t want ever the NHI to be affected by any form of corruption.”

Dr Zweli Mkhize briefs the media following an oversight visit to KZN: