July 30, 2007, 06:45|
President Thabo Mbeki has confirmed that he is looking into the fragile relationship of Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, and Nozizwe Madladla-Routledge, her deputy. He said he is considering conflicting reports on an Eastern Cape hospital, issued by the office of the two ministers.
Mbeki's statement comes after a newspaper reported that 2 000 babies have been stillborn at Mount Frere's maternity ward over the past 14 years. Last month alone, the paper reported that 43 newborn babies had died.
Madladla-Routledge paid a surprise visit to the hospital. During the visit, she said there was evidence of a "national emergency" in the health service.
A few days later, Tshabalala-Msimang sent a team to the hospital and admitted that there were staff shortages. The hospital's maintenance budget was also inadequate. However, she said, her deputy's comments were based on untruths and that the mortality rate at the hospital had been exaggerated.