BBC Doc on Port Elizabeth “Hospitals of Horrors” Shocks Viewers

A BBC documentary about the state of hospitals in the Eastern Cape, particularly Port Elizabeth, has shocked viewers in the UK and back home in South Africa.

On Thursday morning, the Democratic Alliance tweeted a clip from the documentary’s “hospitals of horrors” and said: “🏥| The BBC has shown the country and the world what is really happening in the health systems in ANC governed provinces like the Eastern Cape.”

The BBC says it spent weeks investigating “filthy hospitals in South Africa” (rats in places!) to expose this “extraordinary array of systemic failures showing how exhausted doctors and nurses are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and a health service near collapse”. There are even reports of unborn babies and mothers dying in overcrowded wards where strikes and sick staff (with Covid) mean hospitals are struggling with skeleton staff.

One senior doctor told the BBC it’s “an epic failure of a deeply corrupt system”, and another said there is “a sense of chronic exploitation, the department of health essentially bankrupt, and a system on its knees with no strategic management”.


The BBC says “this is about the pandemic exposing the rot here”.

The DA added: “If one thought the ANC’s record of human rights abuses could not possibly fall lower than Life Esidimeni, this revelation shows more.”

The secretary general of the Eastern Cape’s Health Department, Dr Thobile Mbengashe, downplayed the situation and told the BBC: “It’s very true that some of our teams are very stretched and actually stressed. But the health system in the Eastern Cape has not collapsed. We’ve really been building up [for the pandemic] and I think we are still on track and need to be given an opportunity to show we can do this.”

German motor vehicle company Volkswagen has partnered with the government to build a coronavirus field clinic with 1,200 beds, although some say it was opened too soon (only 200 beds are currently oxygenated) and that “the speed with which VW built the facility has… simply underlined the provincial government’s own failings.”

WATCH Clip from BBC Documentary on Port Elizabeth “hospitals of horrors”

Truly terrifying. Healthcare in the Eastern Cape just not coping.

Posted by Annette Lovemore on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

or watch below on Twitter:

A longtime resident of Port Elizabeth said it is not just the hospitals that are chaotic right now. “The banks open and close, the Traffic Dept opens and closes, the shops open and close… because covid comes in and then they have to do a full sanitisation and open again. You have to queue for everything, and phone to find out if they are open – but then you get a call centre, maybe in Durban, who knows nothing about PE. Thank goodness we can still get library books which are sanitised. Water restrictions are severe and rates are going up – some of our dams are at 7% –  some empty – so a free garden service is coming to remove our plants…”