DA calls to freeze spending and recover R500 million wasted on Anglo Ashanti hospital

The DA welcomes the court order obtained by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to freeze R7.9 million from two companies that were irregularly given tenders to refurbish the Anglo Ashanti Hospital for Covid-19 patients.

Further spending on this white elephant hospital in the far west rand should be frozen, and efforts made to recover a lot more of the R500 million that was spent on unlawful contracts for this project.

The hospital was supposed to have 175 ICU beds, but only 87 beds have been completed and there is no staff or equipment to provide high level care. Only a small number of low-level Covid-19 patients have been admitted there who could have been treated elsewhere.

According to the SIU, there was no approved budget for the refurbishments, which increased from an estimated R50 million to more than R500 million.

Earlier this year the MEC for Infrastructure Development Tasneem Motara revealed in response to my questions that the decision to refurbish the hospital, which was donated by AngloGold Ashanti mine, was taken by the entire Provincial Executive Council.

This implicates Premier David Makhura in this appalling waste of money that should have been used for extra beds and staff at existing hospitals to save the lives of Covid-19 patients.

Makhura cannot continue to deflect accountability for all the corruption scandals on his watch.

His pledges to fight corruption mean nothing as so much has happened that he failed to prevent.

Imagine how many lives could have been saved if this R500 million was properly spent!

It could have hired about 200 extra doctors and 900 nurses for a year, or been spent on extra beds and upgraded equipment.

The DA will continue to press for accountability in this matter to ensure that criminal charges are laid against those who benefited, who must also pay back all their ill-gotten money.

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