The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has denied it is probing possible irregularities and tender corruption linked to the repairs of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, despite Thabo Masebe, acting DG in the Office of the Gauteng Premier, saying that it is.
Kaizer Kganyago, SIU spokesperson, said: “Charlotte Maxeke is not one of the hospitals we are investigating. The other five hospitals are almost done.” Daily Maverick reports that it has requested the names of the other five hospitals.
A picket last Friday (4 March) outside Charlotte Maxeke by the Open CMJAH Now Coalition to protest the continued closure of a large part of the hospital and to demand answers and time-frames, was attended by Masebe on his own. The Coalition had handed a memorandum to Premier David Makhura’s office on 20 February, and had specifically gathered to hear his response.
Masebe admitted that probable corruption lay at the heart of the delays in fixing the hospital. He attributed some blame to the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID), and said the GDID had tabled quotations to fix six blocks of the hospital for more than R1bn – an amount the Health Department had “disputed”, he said.
Admitting that “we strongly suspect there must have been irregularities”, Masebe said the premierʼs office had referred the GDID to the SIU, claiming that an investigation into the GDID “should be covered by the existing Proclamation (23 of 2020), but that if not we will approach the president”.
On fixing the hospital, Masebe made some important commitments, including:
• To provide additional budgetary support for hospitals like Helen Joseph and Chris Hani Baragwanath that are carrying the patient load from the closure of CMJAH;
• That the premier would convene a meeting of all stakeholders to report on progress and plans for the hospital;
• To a joint government-civil society oversight team, claiming that the premier had “told officials in the health department that since the Life Esidimeni disaster there had not been enough consultation with stakeholders and civil society”.
Activists from the Open CMJAH Now campaign (which includes the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA, South African Medical Association, Treatment Action Campaign, the Progressive Health Forum, Section27, and the Cancer Alliance) questioned Masebeʼs promises.
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