An alarmingly small number public health facilities are passing requirements of the government inspection agency Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC).
Government records have recently come to light, based on inspections conducted between March 2012 to March 2016.
The data shows that only 89 of the 1 427 public hospitals and clinics had met the OHSC's 70% pass mark, according to reports by Science and Health Writer Tamar Kahn.
320 facilities were subjected to repeat inspections, most of which failed to improve upon return visits.
Some of the criteria measurements include maternal and infant mortality, availability of medicines and operational management.
Kahn says OHSC has only shared the final scores of the health facilities, but has not detailed how the results were calculated.
It certainly doesn't paint a pretty picture. The Health Minister has a very tough task on his hands.— Tamar Kahn, Science and Health Writer at the Business Day & Financial Mail
She advises that the concerning results are in line withe the growing medical negligence claims in some provinces.
Kahn says it took two court applications, through the Protection of State Information Bill, to get access to previously unpublished documents.
Tamar Kahn unpacks the results and talks about the failing public health system: