by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
The Jeppe Street provincial clinic in central Johannesburg will be closing down after a refurbishment that cost R3 million failed to eliminate health risks to staff and patients.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Ramokgopa “management decided to close the clinic because infrastructural issues that were identiﬁed have resurfaced and this poses a health risk to staff and patients.”
She says that the clinic staff will be relocated to the 18th Avenue clinic in Alexandra and patients will be redirected to the Essellen clinic and the Hillbrow Community Health Centre.
The Jeppe Street clinic was initially closed in 2012 for a R2 million renovation that was completed in March 2014. When problems resurfaced, including mouldy and smelly walls, it was closed in March last year and reopened in November 2017 after R990 000 was spent to fix it.
I am dismayed that so much money was wasted on contractors hired by the Infrastructure Development Department who were unable to do a good job to fix this clinic.
This department is notorious for choosing building companies that charge too much and fail to deliver, with strong indications of corruption.
Examples include the Randwest Clinic in Randfontein which was delayed by more than two years and cost triple the original budget after contractors were changed three times, and the Finetown Clinic which has been delayed for a year after costs went up from R35 million to R53 million.
Meanwhile, the closure of this clinic will greatly inconvenience the 2500 patients who used it every month and will have to travel further for their treatment.
There needs to be a forensic investigation into probable corruption in the refurbishment fiasco at this clinic and accountability to ensure that all corrupt and incompetent officials are rooted out.