The Democratic Alliance notes the announcement last week by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi that the NASREC field hospital will be closed at the end of February as it is no longer needed.
According to Mokgethi, the field hospital only treated 287 intermediate level patients since it was opened despite a contract for 1000 beds that was signed in July last year.
This is separate from the 500-bed section at NASREC that saw 1254 Covid-19 patients who were there for isolation, and 117 people who were in quarantine but did not necessarily have the virus. These people could all have been given much cheaper hotel accommodation.
The overall cost of the NASREC beds is about R250 million, so this means that each person there effectively cost the provincial government R150 000 as they paid R380 per bed a day even when it was empty, and R390 per patient per day when occupied. It was even more expensive for the few actual patients who needed oxygen.
This has been an enormous waste of money and I suspect that there was corruption and gross overcharging. It is worrying that the
Auditor-General found that “the department did not invite as many suppliers as possible and there was no prior approval from the relevant treasury for the emergency procurement of the NASREC Field Hospital as required by treasury regulation.”
It is also suspicious that the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development has refused to make public the contract with NASREC my application to them using the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
The NASREC facility could have been closed even earlier if the extra beds at existing hospitals had been completed by November last year as promised by Premier David Makhura.
The premier cannot claim ignorance of the low utilisation of the NASREC field hospital as this is where his Provincial Command Council meets regularly.
It is yet another failure by Makhura which justifies our motion of no confidence in him as he is not fit to govern.