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HomeNews ReleaseDA: Gauteng Health criticised for poor planning of Covid infrastructure

DA: Gauteng Health criticised for poor planning of Covid infrastructure

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is not surprised that the Health Portfolio Committee, during a recent committee meeting, questioned the planning and quality of Covid-19 infrastructure projects.

The first question which the department could not answer satisfactorily was how it came about that the province was spending more than R2 billion on 5 facilities that are meant to provide 1,575 high care beds, the majority of which are not yet available.

The five facilities, which include Chris Hani BaragwanathKopanong, George Mukhari, Jubilee and the Anglo-Gold Ashanti hospitals, have not yet been completed and have not been utilised in the fight against the pandemic. The excuse presented by the officials is that the pandemic peaked earlier than expected and that the initial planning was not as stringent as it could have been due to dealing with an unknown situation.

Even now, there are no publicised plans as to how these high care beds will be repurposed in the event that, as seems likely, they will never be used for Covid patients. In addition, there is no information which indicates whether the equipment, staff and finance required to run the hospitals is available.

The officials could also not explain why a whopping R589 million was budgeted to set up 175 high care beds at the AngloGold Ashanti hospital in Carletonville, when by their own admission, a new facility could have been built at a lower cost. Clearly no feasibility or cost-benefit analysis had been done.

An SIU report in terms of the AngloGold Ashanti project highlighted the risk to the project when the department, without solid justification, stopped paying the contractors. As a result, the project was stopped due to strike action by the contractors and the subsequent threat by contractors to remove or damage high value medical equipment. The department was also criticised for not providing sufficient security.

The Gauteng Department of Health is dysfunctional and will remain so unless certain steps are taken. The Premier must appoint an MEC who is more than an ANC cadre with purely ideological objectives, who in turn must appoint skilled administrators. Failing this, the department will continue to limp from crisis to crisis.

Issued by:

Alan Fuchs MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management
Dorianne Arendse
GPL Media and Issues Specialist

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