Shonisani Lethole’s family is calling for the suspension of the Tembisa Hospital CEO, pending a disciplinary enquiry and strengthening of the hospital’s board to improve the management and governance of the health facility.

The family was responding to the Health Ombudsman’s report on their relative’s death.

On Wednesday, Health Ombud Professor Malegapuru Makgoba released his findings on the matter and revealed that Leshole died after he was starved for more than 100 hours at the hospital in June last year.

It also found that the hospital staff lied about feeding Lethole.

Professor Makgoba recommended that disciplinary action be taken against all 19 staff members implicated.

Leshole’s mother, Particia, says, “I was so surprised to see how a hospital can be an enemy of truth.”

She says the hospital needs to be fixed urgently, especially as the country continues to battle COVID-19.

“It’s not about Shoni now. It’s about his legacy and saving other’s lives,” she told a news conference. “We can fix this Tembisa Hospital, the only thing is that my son had to die for us to see this,” she added.

The family says the poor service at Tembisa Hospital has been going on for years now.

“Many other people have died in circumstances of potential neglect and failure including Sevey Ncube, Anna Mkhize and Elias Singwayo. The people of the East Rand have been campaigning for changes to be made at the hospital for a long time.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng has also called for the immediate suspension of the hospital’s management team, who misled the Gauteng Department of Health about the state of the hospital.

The party also wants Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi to urgently appoint an independent forensic and audit firm to conduct a competency assessment of the leadership and management staff at the facility.

The CEO of the Hospital has meanwhile rejected the Ombudsman’s report and says they are seeking recourse.

“We have identified a lot of procedural errors and several omissions that have an impact on this report. We will be taking the report on appeal up to the last stage of taking it on review,” says Dr Lekopane Mogaladi.

He says hospital management was never afforded the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses or examine whatever they were telling the ombudsman.

The provincial health department has on the other hand welcomed the Ombudsman’s report.

Apologising and extending condolences to the Leshole family, MEC Mokgethi says the department will use the recommendations of the report to improve patient experience of care and provide quality dignified services in its facilities.