Malema booted from hospital

African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema has left
Port Elizabeth with his tail between his legs after he was booted out of
Dora Nginza Hospital, where he went to wish patients well.
The notoriously rundown and struggling hospital was Malema's last stop
in the Friendly City after jetting into town yesterday morning for a day
of campaigning.
He was supposed to address a meeting of the health workers' union Nehawu
at the hospital, but was delayed, and the workers had left by the time
he arrived.
A noisy delegation of about 20 national and provincial Youth League
leaders and Nehawu shop stewards, some in political T-shirts, then
followed Malema into the hospital, where he shook hands with bedridden
patients in two general wards.
One patient, Sindiswa Hala, at first looked puzzled but then warmed to
Malema when he asked her whether she needed help to cast her ballot on
Monday or Tuesday, the days set aside for special votes by those who are
ill or infirm.
Then the visibly upset hospital superintendent, Aydin Vehbi, intercepted
the group in one of the corridors and asked them to leave.
Mhlobiso-Poyo said Vehbi had told them that if he allowed the ANCYL to
campaign in the hospital, he would have to give other parties the same
Malema denied he was booted out, saying Vehbi had welcomed the group.
"But he said he was worried that the DA would also want to do the same
thing, so we said we are not going to campaign. We were merely wishing
people well."
Dora Nginza Hospital, where five goats were seen roaming the barren
gardens surrounding the hospital yesterday, has made headlines several
times over controversies such as drug-resistant TB patients escaping,
severe understaffing and security concerns.
Apparently, none of the security guards at the hospital were informed
about Malema's visit.
When asked about his whereabouts, one security guard, not knowing who
Malema was, asked if he had come by ambulance.
The youth league delegation afterwards sped off for a gala dinner in
East London in preparation for ANC leader Jacob Zuma's visit to the
province this morning.
The DA's Ryan Coetzee yesterday slammed Malema as someone who doesn't
care about any rule, law, regulation, or anything to do with order".
Cope presidential candidate Mvume Dandala earlier this week complained
that the ANC had offered to help a family member of his who was slightly
disabled to cast her ballot, a tactic he described as foul play.
The Electoral Act says voters who need assistance casting their votes
may be helped, but only by somebody "of their own choice".
* *This article was originally published on page 3 of **The Star*
<http://www.thestar.co.za/>* on April 17, 2009 *


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