Senior managers at Frere Hospital face a probe following allegations of racism levelled against them by junior employees.
The Eastern Cape legislature portfolio committee on health has instructed the health department to institute an investigation after junior staff reported to their respective unions about racism at the hospital.
Allegations of preferential treatment in the filling of posts favouring Frere over Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane will form part of the investigation.
Portfolio committee on health chairman Mxolisi Dimaza confirmed yesterday that the department had been instructed to institute the probe into allegations of racism.
Dimaza said the department would also investigate claims of preferential treatment over filling of vacant posts at Frere and Cecilia Makiwane.
“It is correct . . . it was [reported]that racism is taking place at Frere. We raised the matter in a special meeting with the department and we indicated that such allegations must be investigated because anything to do with racism is quite serious,” he said.
“There was also an allegation that preferential treatment is given to Frere than Cecilia Makiwane.”
Dimaza said department officials did not deny allegations of preferential treatment.
Officials were asked to provide details on the filling of posts at the two hospitals starting from 2012.
He said information provided by the department stated that since 2012 only102 vacancies were filled at Cecilia Makiwane, while during the same period 863 vacancies were filled at Frere.
This was despite the fact that Cecilia Makiwane served a larger community, which includes Mdantsane –the second biggest township in the country after Soweto, Needs Camp and other surrounding areas.
“Cecilia Makiwane is much biggerthan Frere and should be treated like the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg because Mdantsane is the second biggest township after Soweto,” Dimaza said.
“The problem is that Persal [government ’s employee registration system] is controlled by Frere despite the fact that the government of the day took a decision to de-complex [separate] these hospitals.”
In 2011, following a string of baby deaths at the hospitals, the provincial government decided to separate Frere and Cecilia Makiwane, which formed the East London Hospital Complex, for the hospitals to be run independently.