Residents of Graaff-Reinet and surrounds are facing a dire Christmas, as Eskom’s punitive power cuts, combined with the ongoing unprecedented loadshedding, are not only causing taps to run dry but are creating a catastrophic healthcare crisis.

The Midlands Hospital has already been under extreme strain due to Eskom’s rolling blackouts, but hospital staff and the administration have been able to adapt, until now.

However, the additional six hours a day of power cuts being implemented against the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality as punitive load reduction will push the hospital to breaking point.

The municipality has still failed to communicate clearly on the matter, and residents have all but been left to fend for themselves.

The DA has written to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to highlight the plight of the municipality and request his urgent intervention.

Download letter.

The Midlands Hospital is always under extreme pressure during the December holiday period due to the increased accidents on the N9/N10 and R65. Since the beginning of December, the hospital has already dealt with 41 motor vehicle accidents.

This hospital is the only one in the area where x-rays are available, causing the bulk of accident victims to be transferred there. However, the X-ray facility cannot run off the generator, so patients are required to wait hours before they can be x-rayed, impacting on accurate and timeous treatment.

The additional power cuts are also putting a strain on the limited diesel supplies, with the generator needing to operate for up to 12 hours a day. If the diesel runs out, or the generator gives in, the hospital faces the very real possibility of not being able to provide healthcare services.

The ongoing power cuts are having a devastating impact on communities across Dr Beyers Naude. Many simply do not have the means to buy water or seek out alternative healthcare facilities.

The DA will continue to fight for the residents of Dr Beyers Naude and seek solutions to resolve this crisis.

The municipality’s silence on the matter is deafening, with the seemingly oblivious Mayor wishing everyone a “peaceful and prosperous” festive season.

Fat chance of that for anyone needing water, electricity or emergency healthcare!

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Samantha Graham-Maré

Samantha Graham-Maré, MP is the DA Shadow Minister: Public Works and Infrastructure.

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