#GautengInCrisis: Covid Infrastructure projects stumble from crisis to crisis

It is extremely concerning to note that despite numerous promises by the Gauteng Provincial Government that our health infrastructure will be upgraded to cope with the expected high number of Covid-19 cases in the province, these critical infrastructure projects have still not been completed almost a year after the country went into lockdown.

What has been shown once again is that the Departments of Infrastructure and Health are dysfunctional and cannot be relied upon. While we are still waiting for the completion of projects to ensure an additional 1575 High Care/ICU beds, the Health Department has announced that the 300 beds that were to have been provided at the Kopanong hospital will be delayed because the project has been stopped due to poor contractor performance.

There is a lack of clear information as to when construction will be completed. It is crystal clear that there is additionally a scarcity of medical staff to man the new beds, thus making them unnecessary in the short to mid-term. In light of this, the Department of Health is to decide how many of the ICU beds, if and when they come online, must be repurposed as general beds and where the medical staff will be found.

The fact that our health infrastructure is not ready and able to cope with the high numbers of Covid patients is worrying, given that the initial lockdown was implemented so that government could ensure that the necessary infrastructure is put in place so that our hospitals can deal with the large number of patients that were expected.

Furthermore, the DA will be submitting questions to the MEC for Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara to ascertain what measures are being put in place to ensure that the companies who were awarded the tenders to complete these critical infrastructure projects do so within the stipulated timeframe. In addition, we the DA would also like to know what action will be taken against contractors where work has stopped due to poor contractor performance. In the meantime, we wait while puerile management is the order of the day and people die from Covid.