Despite paying R4 million a year for security at the Gauteng Health Department’s medical supplies depot in Auckland Park in Johannesburg, all its 166 security cameras are broken.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Mokgethi, 164 cameras collapsed about four years ago, and the remaining two cameras broke in November last year.
These cameras were installed more than 20 years ago and cannot be fixed as they are outdated and no parts can be found in the country.
The security company was paid R3 944 765 last year to guard the depot, but its contract expired on 30 September 2016. Since then it has been renewed irregularly on a month-to-month basis after new tenders were advertised in 2016 but cancelled thereafter.
Mokgethi claims that no theft was reported last year at the medical depot but I suspect that theft of high value medicines can easily occur with inside collision and no security cameras.
She says that the depot is “finalising a procurement strategy to procure a new CCTV security system.”
But it is inexcusable that the security cameras have been out of action for so long.
There should be more urgency in ensuring proper security for a critical facility that supplies life-saving medicines to patients in public hospitals and clinics.
New security tenders are needed that provide better value for money and use the latest technology to prevent theft.