Zweli MkhizeTimesLIVE reports that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize advised on Tuesday that the fire that saw nearly 700 patients evacuated from Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital had also destroyed more than R40m worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical stock.

He was speaking during a visit to the closed hospital to assess the extent of damage caused by the blaze on Friday and to discuss a recovery plan. Mkhize reported that the fire, which had started on the dispensary side of the facility, had caused significant destruction. “We have seen in some areas there has been destruction with the floors caving in. Holes have appeared on different floors. It was a huge fire resulting in a huge amount of destruction,” said Mkhize. No patients were injured. Gauteng health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said on Friday the fire had affected the dispensary where all the dry and medical items were kept. She reported that safety officers for the department of infrastructure development conducted inspections twice a year at hospitals. An inspection was done at the hospital in October or November 2020 and there were no adverse safety findings. “This means the hydrants were all in good condition and functional,” Kekana noted. However, Wynand Engelbrecht of Fire Ops SA, a private company that took part in the firefighting operation, said at the weekend the hospital’s fire hydrants were not working.

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