KZN GOVERNMENT TAKES OVER McCORD HOSPITAL
By: Tony Manyangadze
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government made it known, yesterday, that they are going to take over McCord Hospital.
This turn of events was reached after prolonged talks between the KZN Provincial Government and the Board of McCord Hospital as the two reached a consensus to avert a possible total closure of the hospital due to successive losses the once privately owned institution has been recording the past years.
“You can see the we are here jointly as the government of the province, the Chairperson of the Board of McCord and members of McCord board. That should indicate to you that we truly have found each other… We are putting the past behind us,” said MEC for Finance Ina Cronje’.
Cronje’ together with the MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, were representing the KZN Provincial Government while the Hospital was represented by Professor Paulus Zulu, Chairman of the Board of McCord Hospital.
The two parties jointly agreed that a “joint technical team” be established to ensure the takeover of the 104-year-old hospital is done smoothly and with haste. “Our mandate and brief to our technical team is to move with speed because speed is of the essence,” added Cronje’.
Moreover, the two parties jointly agreed for an appointment of an independent valuer to assess the McCord Hospital complex and come up with a figure of how much it’s worth.
The joint delegate took the opportunity to highlight why it took so to reach an agreement saying that there are a lot of issues and legality that must be considered. “There were moral imperatives… and the second imperative related to the conundrum of company law,” noted Professor Zulu.
Prior to this historic takeover, were fears of job loses especially from the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu). According to Sunday Newspapers, the union was concerned that the board, by stalling the negations, was putting the hospital, its workers and patients at a greater risk of total closure since the institution was already operating at a loss.
Meanwhile, both the Provincial government and the Board of McCord Hospital are not sure of the date when the Hospital will be fully operational. As such, the MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo went on to advice the members to wait patiently for the announcement.
“As Government we have to make sure that when people go there, there are no risks,” said Dr Dhlomo. “An announcement will be made to the public informing them about the available functions,” he added.