Gauteng’s dysfunctional Infrastructure Department unable to fix flooding at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Once again, Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development has shown itself to be incapable of performing even its most basic functions, namely maintaining its health infrastructure in case of emergency breakdowns.

In its entire history, the dysfunctional department has never been able to meet its operational targets, to the extent that the Democratic Alliance (DA) called for this department to be shut down or put under administration.

In the latest debacle, the department was unable to resolve a flooding issue, which led to an increase in the backlog of elective surgeries at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. To make matters worse, the department has provided no feedback as to how and when the problem will be resolved.

The issue at play is the constant appointment of contractors who do not have the expertise or equipment to resolve technical maintenance issues. When pressed for a response as to why the probity checking of contractors does not highlight poor performers, the department has previously indicated that there is no performance management of contractors. One wonders to what extent the appointment of cadres contributes to poor outcomes.

In the meantime, responsible politicians are nowhere to be seen in terms of providing solutions and ensuring that departments perform. The Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, is too busy chasing and looking for cheap publicity, while the incompetent MEC for Infrastructure Development, Lebogang Maile, simply whitewashes any criticism of his department.

The poor performance of the Infrastructure Department has been raised ad nauseam in the Legislature, but like rats fleeing a sinking ship, the politicians and officials refuse to accept responsibility or allow themselves to be held accountable.

As we approach 2024, and it’s time to relegate this uncaring and arrogant government to the garbage bin annals of history.