South Africa: No Operations During Power Outage - Dept

Johannesburg — An overnight power outage at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto last week did not affect any operations, the Gauteng health department said on Monday.

"The power outage happened at 2am and the power was restored about two hours later, and in that period there were no operations taking place," said spokesman Simon Zwane.

He was responding to a news report that the hospital's generator failed during the outage on Friday and that operations were carried out with the use of cellphone light.

Above the story was a picture of doctors carrying out an operation in the dark.

"That is a misleading picture to create a wrong impression," said Zwane.

"It is wrong. They are using old pictures to create a non-existent impression about the situation that was attended to and was immediately corrected."

Asked if the hospital had in the past used cellphone lighting during operations, Zwane said: "I don't know where they got the picture from."

"Hospital management has not found any evidence to support that claim."

He said the hospital was not to blame for the power outages.

"The power outages cannot be blamed on the hospital. They occur in the electricity supply network that affects the entire area where the hospital is situated."

He said the generators at the hospital were in working order and that a new generator was recently installed.

"But sometimes they don't kick in on time and when that happens technicians are called in to work on the equipment so as to provide electricity."

The Democratic Alliance said there was no excuse for generators not to work.

"This is simply not good enough. All generators should work all the time. They should be tested every week, and be properly maintained," DA MPL Jack Bloom said in a statement.

"There is absolutely no excuse for a generator to fail."

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