Falling windows, leaks and potholes at newly built Thelle Mogoerane hospital

The Thelle Mogoerane Hospital was opened as a state-of-the-art facility six years ago but suffers from major building defects that will cost more than R11.5 million to fix.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

The following defects have been detected:

  • some windows falling off when opened
  • poor flooring strength at Accident and Emergency, resulting in potholes
  • sewer line blockage at Nurses Residence
  • cracks in the wall
  • major roof leaks
  • inadequate storm water drainage system

The roof leaks are so bad that there has been flooding of upper level wards, and there are random leaks on other floors. It is estimated that it will cost R7 million to fix these leaks which are caused by water pipe services not connected and sealed properly during the construction phase.

Other estimated repair costs include R3.8 million to fix the floors at Accident and Emergency, R400 000 for the windows and R250 000 for the sewer line blockage. This totals R11.45 million, and more is needed as reports are awaited about the cost to fix the wall cracks and the storm water drainage.

According to Masuku “the estimated cost to fix the structural and design faults will only be available after the assessments, findings and recommendations have been completed by the consultants.”

This hospital took eight years to be built and cost R1.6 billion, which was double the original budget.

It is very disappointing that staff and patients are yet again suffering because of shoddy work by a building contractor that will cost a lot of money to fix. There should be penalty clauses to claim money from such a contractor.

The provincial government should take special care in selecting decent companies to build the six new hospitals that are planned in Gauteng.

DA welcomes new Hawks investigation into illegal VBS investments

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the news that the Hawks in Pretoria have opened a new case in connection with the illegal VBS investment scandal.

In May 2018, the DA opened a case at the Carletonville police station regarding the illegal investment of R50 million by the Merafong Local Municipality.

However, the Hawks have informed the DA that they have closed the initial case that was opened and have now opened a new case for further investigation.

This indicates the seriousness of this matter hence a new case has been opened.

These illegal investments with VBS have had a negative impact on service delivery in this municipality as local government services have collapsed.

In recent weeks, Merafong has been plagued by service delivery protests. Certain parts of Khutsong have been without power and water for months, and Kokosi, Wedela, Blybank and Greenspark are often hard hit by outages, including those who pay their accounts.

This  illegal VBS  investment has had far reaching effects in term of the municipality’s cash flow. Currently , the Merafong  Council is paying creditors in order of priority and only when money is available.

The creditors as at December 2019 stood at R581 million of which  R395 million is for Eskom and  R62 million for Rand Water.

This indicates that this municipality is in financial distress and on the verge of financial collapse. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the revenue collection is around 60 %.

It is unacceptable for the residents of Merafong to be at the losing end of the stick because of the decision of the ANC-led government to illegally invest public funds with a Mutual Bank.

The DA will be closely monitoring the progress of the investigation to ensure that no stone is left unturned in this matter.

Will Gauteng’s six new hospitals be built speedily within budget?

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province (SOPA) address last week that six new hospitals will be built in Gauteng in this decade.

My concern is that the Gauteng provincial government has a poor track record in building health facilities – it usually takes double the estimated time and double the budget.

Failed promises about hospital building have been made before e.g. former Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi promised a new hospital in Soshanguve six years ago.

It is estimated that about 2000 extra hospital beds are needed for Gauteng’s growing population, and new hospitals need to be in places where patients are currently grossly under-served.

Tembisa Hospital has the worst overcrowding which will be alleviated if the Kempton Park hospital is re-opened as well as the promised hospital in Diepsloot.

Upgrading Lilian Ngoyi Clinic to a planned 556 bed hospital will take the strain off the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Bheki Mlangeni hospitals in the Soweto area.

A Daveyton hospital has long been promised as well as a new hospital to replace the decrepit Jubillee hospital.

A new hospital is also needed in the Heidelberg area.

Six new hospitals will cost about R9 billion. Government will need to find this money and make sure that costs don’t balloon because of corruption and inefficiency.

I doubt that the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department has the ability to build these hospitals without delays and cost over-runs, so innovative arrangements involving the private sector should be sought.

Gauteng DSD constantly underspends while the vulnerable members of this province suffer

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the Gauteng Department of Social Development constantly underspends on its budget.

This was revealed in the department’s third quarterly report for the 2019/20 financial year.

According to the report, the department has underspent by R552,8 million.

The department has underspent across all its programmes, yet they are unable to provide funding to NGOs who are in desperate need of funds.

The department underspent R 189,8 million in Programme Three: Children and Families.  In Programme Five: Development and Research, they underspent by R174,1 million and R109,5 million on Programme One: Administration. The department also underspent R56,7 million on Programme Four: Restorative Services and R24,4 million on Programme Two: Social Welfare Services.

Under expenditure of the allocated budget has become a norm for this department and can no longer be tolerated.

In the 2017/18 financial the department underspent by R104,4 million and in 2018/19 financial year, the under expenditure increased to R419,1 million.

Despite the department’s under expenditure and underperformance the Head of Department’s contract has been renewed. This clearly indicates a lack of consequence management.

This department lacks a political captain to lead and oversee the functions of this department because the current Acting MEC Panyaza Lesufi has a lot on his plate.

We will continue to put pressure on Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to appoint a full time MEC for the department to ensure that social services are delivered to our people.