Covid-related infrastructure projects not being completed on time and value for money questioned

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that there are a number of Covid-related infrastructure projects that have not met the planned deadlines.

This information was revealed during a recent portfolio committee meeting of the Health Department.

These projects were initiated to provide additional capacity to deal with the expected peak of the pandemic. The flagged projects include the Lenasia South CHC, Tshwane District Hospital, Helen Joseph and Anglo Gold Ashanti Hospital in Carletonville. As a result, 103 general beds and 225 ICU/High care beds that should have been available by the end of June are still to be provided.

The Gauteng government has to date committed more than R2,6 billion to the building of the emergency facilities and it is concerning that questions are being raised about the ability of the administration to provide these facilities on time and to provide the tax-payers of Gauteng with value for money infrastructure.

The reasons presented for the delay in the completion of the projects include insufficient time to do detailed planning brought about by the emergency, longer lead times than expected in terms of procurement and disruptions by tenderpreneurs and communities demanding to be given sub-contracts.

Of major concern is the Anglo Gold Ashanti Hospital which will be leased to the Department of Health after completion. The facility which will provide 175 ICU/High care beds, was meant to be completed by the end of June but is currently only 75% complete. In addition, questions have been raised about the value for money of the project. The estimated construction cost per bed, excluding medical equipment, is R3, 365 million, way above the industry average.

Gauteng’s ability to manage infrastructure implementation has always been questionable, but now is not the time to drop the ball. Lives depend on it.