By Neelam Rahim
The SA Human Rights Commission will be visiting the embattled Rahima Moosa Hospital this morning after it was mired in controversy last week. Paediatric Dr Tim de Maayer was briefly suspended last week after he wrote an open letter to the Gauteng health department stating that public hospitals’ horrendous conditions and how they contributed to children’s deaths. His suspension was lifted after widespread outrage.
Radio Islam speaks to Bongani Majola, who is a Human Rights Commission Chairperson Advocate.
Dr De Maayer’s suspension was lifted after the outrage that followed. But should he have been suspended in the first place for exposing the horrendous conditions in public hospitals?
Bongani said that he does not think Dr De Maayer should have been suspended in the first place, which is why they had issued a statement and urged the hospital to lift the suspension.
“We visit hospitals and see the deplorable conditions that sometimes you find in certain hospitals. We are saying that people should get proper access to health care is more in the public interest. The suspension also appeared to be interfering with the basic rights of expression and was an overreaction on that side of the hospital,” says Bongani.
The Commission visited The Rahima Moosa hospital in 2018 after the death of many babies at the hospital.
Bongani says, “Due to Covid-19 limiting our ability to move around and monitor closely, we were unable to visit Rahima Moosa regularly. Some of these things take time, of course, to attend to, change and fix. This is why we will make a concerted effort to go to Rahima Moosa and see what has been done and what the current condition is.”
“This morning, we were supposed to visit our Gauteng Provincial office. When we visited in 2018, we were more concerned about the death of the, so the focus of the investigation was rather more around that issue. And not generally on the infrastructure of the hospital, but now we will extend a wider look to see if there is a need for the government to intervene and change the situation at Rahima Moosa. We will also try to determine the circumstances over Dr De Maayer’s suspension and why they have not considered the patient’s interest,” says Bongani.