Manto hospitalised, ‘on a ventilator’

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been admitted to the intensive-care unit of the Johannesburg General Hospital, 702 Talk Radio reported on Wednesday.

According to the Star newspaper on Thursday, she is on a ventilator.

“Her spokesperson, Sibani Mngadi, last night [Wednesday] confirmed she was being treated for severe anaemia and residual pleural effusion [fluid in the lining of the lungs],” reported the newspaper

She was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night.

Tshabalala-Msimang’s health has been under the microscope since she returned to duty earlier this year — after suffering a long illness.

She was admitted to the same hospital last year for several weeks after reportedly suffering from a lung infection.

When discharged from hospital last year, the minister said: “I am very glad that I have been discharged … after being in the hospital for the past three weeks.

“I would like to express my appreciation to all the staff of the Johannesburg General Hospital for the high quality care that has been rendered to me.

“When I was admitted, I was very ill.”

She extended her gratitude to Professor Jeff Wing and his team “for managing my condition in a professional manner”.

The minister said further at the time: “I know that many of you have been enquiring about why I have remained in the hospital for this long. I should have been discharged last week as I had recovered from the respiratory infection, which I was being treated for at the hospital.

“However, in further consultation with the medical team attending to me, we agreed that I remained in the hospital … to allow for my full recovery. This included participating in a couple of physiotherapy sessions to get me into shape again.”

She appeared unwell at a media briefing in Cape Town last week.

Attempts by the Mail & Guardian Online to get comment from the Health Department on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Charity Bhengu, spokesperson for the department, said she was at the hospital, but was not in a position to say anything about Tshabalala-Msimang’s current condition. There would be updates later in the day, she said.

Appalled

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) parliamentary caucus, in a statement issued on Thursday, said it is appalled by insensitive remarks, concerning the health of Tshabalala-Msimang, attributed to Democratic Alliance (DA) acting spokesperson on health, Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

“The reference to the minister as a ‘terrifying sight’ and that she must be removed from office ‘before dying there’ by the DA MP, as quoted in the weekend press, is a shocking defiance of basic standards of human behaviour. Ubuntu is a basic human behaviour that should crosscut every cultural orientation,” read the statement.

“It is indeed sad when political opposition stoops so low that an opposition member takes delight in the personal hardships of those she differs with.

“Kohler-Barnard is quoted in the [press] urging the minister to do the ‘honourable’ thing and step down because of her ‘major health problems’. The honourable thing is the ability to demonstrate humility and sensitivity to others’ well-being, regardless of who they are, rather than pursuing opportunistic and narrow politicking at all costs.

“The ANC caucus is shocked by Ms Kohler-Barnard’s insensitivity and lack of human decency. We trust that her remarks are not representative of the entire DA leadership collective and call the party to publicly distance itself from such comments.”

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