The fire – the cause of which is unknown – began in the early hours last Tuesday morning. Patients were evacuated.
Police are still investigating the matter and no one is allowed into the kitchen building.
Gert Sibande district has a high number of tuberculosis (TB ) patients and a very low TB cure rate. Recently, Standerton TB Hospital was established as an multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) hospital as part of government’s 2011 strategy to decentralise TB treatment.
MDR-TB is resistant to both of the most commonly used anti-TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin.
Mzwakhe Lubisi* said: “I was fast asleep when I heard people shouting ‘fire, fire’? I thought it was a just a dream but again they shouted, “fire, fire, fire”. I have never been so afraid in life. I thought the building that was burning was the one I am in.”
The TB hospital building is owned by the South African National Tuberculosis Association (SANTA), which has rented the building to the Mpumalanga Department of Health.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to Luyanda Mzangwe, SANTA’s asset and IT manager.
Ronnie Masilela from the Mpumalanga Department of Health said although the fire was unfortunate, it had not disrupted food supply to patients.
“We have made arrangements for the Standerton Hospital to also provide food to patients in the TB hospital.”
*names have been changed