Patients suffer as Provincial incompetence leads to national take-over of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital repair

It is truly shameful that the Gauteng provincial government has proved incapable of repairing the fire-damaged Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital and has therefore transferred this responsibility to the National Health Department.

I am not surprised, however, as the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department (GDID) is notoriously incompetent and corrupt.

Two fishy contracts totalling R128 million for work on the hospital are being terminated, and nine senior officials have been suspended following the findings of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, said yesterday at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature Health Committee that her department “had no choice” but to ask the Premier to take the work away from GDID because of the corruption and lack of progress.

Meanwhile, lives are being lost because of unnecessary delays in fully re-opening the hospital.

The Accident and Emergency unit was supposed to open in January but according to Mokgethi will only be ready for patients in mid-March.

This puts massive pressure on other hospitals, particularly Helen Joseph Hospital where patients sleeping overnight in casualty have increased by 500% as they wait to be admitted to a ward.

More deaths can be expected amongst cancer and heart patients, and the waiting lists for surgery at CMJH are up by more than 3000 patients.

It is yet another disaster presided over by Premier David Makhura who perpetually makes poor appointments and fails to prevent corruption despite repeated promises.

The National Health Department should rope in the best private sector expects to speed up the repair of the hospital even before its target of completion by the end of next year.