Covid-19: Labour dept to have another look at Frere Hospital after forced closure

24 May 2020

The Department of Employment and Labour is expected to visit Frere Hospital in East London to do a follow-up inspection after the hospital was shut down amid concerns that its measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were inadequate.

DispatchLive reported on Saturday that the hospital was closed by health and safety inspectors from the labour department.

The prohibition notice to shut down the hospital was served on Frere Hospital’s acting CEO James Thomas on Tuesday by labour inspector Apiwe Maxontana, the report said.

The report added that the labour department had not backed down from its position, with the director-general of the labour department, Thobile Lamati, refusing to withdraw the notice for closure.

It was also reported that the Eastern Cape Department of Health had lodged an urgent court interdict to challenge the notice issued by labour department officials.

Now, according to a joint statement released on Saturday evening, following a meeting between Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, it was resolved that a follow-up inspection at the hospital will take place on Sunday.

“Upon receiving a report from the provincial Department of Health, which confirmed that many of the issues raised by the Department of Employment and Labour were resolved, we agreed that the Department of Employment and Labour will go back to the hospital tomorrow (Sunday) to conduct a follow-up inspection,” the statement read.

“The purpose of the follow-up inspection is to verify what was reported by the Department of Health in the meeting.

“If the Department of Health does not agree with the outcome of this follow-up inspection, it will lodge an appeal with the chief inspector of the Department of Employment and Labour.”

On the matter of the court interdict, Nxesi and Mabuyane agreed that the government cannot resolve its matters in the courts of law without exploring the existing intergovernmental relations, platforms and avenues set up for such matters.

The Eastern Cape accounts for about 12% of infections in the country, sitting at 2 459 positive cases as of Friday, News24 reported.

Source: News24 at https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/covid-19-labour-dept-to-have-another-look-at-frere-hospital-after-forced-closure-20200524