Jeppe street clinic to be closed after failed R3 million refurbishment

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Jeppe Street provincial clinic in central Johannesburg will be closing down after a refurbishment that cost R3 million failed to eliminate health risks to staff and patients.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Ramokgopa “management decided to close the clinic because infrastructural issues that were identified have resurfaced and this poses a health risk to staff and patients.”

She says that the clinic staff will be relocated to the 18th Avenue clinic in Alexandra and patients will be redirected to the Essellen clinic and the Hillbrow Community Health Centre.

The Jeppe Street clinic was initially closed in 2012 for a R2 million renovation that was completed in March 2014. When problems resurfaced, including mouldy and smelly walls, it was closed in March last year and reopened in November 2017 after R990 000 was spent to fix it.

I am dismayed that so much money was wasted on contractors hired by the Infrastructure Development Department who were unable to do a good job to fix this clinic.

This department is notorious for choosing building companies that charge too much and fail to deliver, with strong indications of corruption.

Examples include the Randwest Clinic in Randfontein which was delayed by more than two years and cost triple the original budget after contractors were changed three times, and the Finetown Clinic which has been delayed for a year after costs went up from R35 million to R53 million.

Meanwhile, the closure of this clinic will greatly inconvenience the 2500 patients who used it every month and will have to travel further for their treatment.

There needs to be a forensic investigation into probable corruption in the refurbishment fiasco at this clinic and accountability to ensure that all corrupt and incompetent officials are rooted out.

No accountability for Jeppe Street Clinic delays

Despite contractors not lifting a finger for five months to repair the Jeppe Street Clinic, Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo has stated no action will be taken against either the contractors involved or departmental officials that failed to monitor the project.

This speaks volumes to the lack of political will shown by this ANC-led administration to effectively implement projects that ultimately effect service delivery.

The Jeppe Street Clinic has been closed since April this year and was due to be reopened at the end of this month, but as yet no work has taken place.

Despite this, without a single step being taken to repair the damaged roof and rotten walls, MEC Mamabolo has stated that the clinic will be open come 1 October 2017 and all repairs will be complete.

It is concerning that work, which should have taken five months to complete, is now going to be rushed in just under two weeks. This is probably due to the fact that the MEC is attempting to save face in another one of his PR exercises.

The DA will monitor these renovations and request to be supplied with compliance certificates for the work carried out.

The safety of the 2500 patients who make use of the clinic should not be jeopardised at the expense of the MEC’s ego.

R2 million spent on rotting clinic

R2 million was spent three years ago to renovate the Jeppe Street Clinic, a Gauteng Provincial Government Health facility, in inner city Johannesburg but the building was recently shut down because of a defective roof and dampness that led to smelly mould on the walls.

This has been revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature following my visit to this clinic two months ago which exposed the terrible conditions that led to it being shut down for repairs.

According to Ramokgopa: “The roof needs serious attention, the concrete floor is currently porous … The dampness in the building is caused by the leakage and the structure is old … Rotten staircases and old water pipes need replacement. The smell in the building emanates from the dampness that is continuous and visible mold.”

Ramokgopa says that the estimated cost to repair this Gauteng Provincial Government clinic is R396 000 excluding a thorough structural investigation by an engineer which might increase the cost further.

An average of 2668 patients visited this clinic every month and are now severely inconvenienced as they have been redirected to the Hillbrow Community Health Centre along with the clinic staff.

It is expected that the clinic will reopen on 1 October 2017 subject to the engineer’s report.

The Gauteng Health Department should investigate why the previous contractor did not fix the clinic despite being paid R2 million.

I hope that a decent company is appointed to do the repairs as there is an unfortunate history of contractors doing shoddy work on government buildings, which appears to be why this clinic needs further repairs even after R2 million was spent on it not so long ago.

DA welcomes closure of clinic in sick building

I welcome the temporary closing of the Jeppe Street clinic in inner city Johannesburg following my exposure of the unhealthy working conditions there.

Staff and patients at this clinic were suffering from moldy walls that smelled and caused health problems.

I visited the clinic last month after receiving complaints that staff were getting chest infections because of the poor state of the old building in which the clinic is based.

The emergency room was worst affected, with ugly mold infesting the walls giving off a pungent smell, and there were leaking ceilings elsewhere.

I hope that the rehabilitation of this clinic is done speedily as it is inconvenient for patients to go instead to the Hillbrow Community Health Centre which is usually quite crowded.

It is disturbing that the Gauteng Health Department only acted on this clinic after bad publicity in the media.

The Department needs to give a higher priority to maintenance so that health facilities never deteriorate to the stage that they need to be closed.

Media Enquiries

Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
082 333 4222

Clinic Staff And Patients Suffer In Sick Building

Jeppe Street Clinic

Staff and patients at the Jeppe street clinic in inner-city Johannesburg are suffering from moldy walls that smell and cause health problems.

I visited the clinic last week after receiving complaints that staff were getting chest infections because of the poor state of the old building in which the clinic is based.

The emergency room is worst affected, with ugly mold infesting the walls giving off a pungent smell (photographs available on request).

This is clearly unhealthy and unacceptable in a health facility.

Staff and Patients Affected by Sick Building

There are other problem areas of mold and leaking ceilings at this clinic.

Staff at this provincial clinic have protested several times about their poor working environment but have been ignored by the Gauteng Health Department.

It is unacceptable that the health of staff and patients is affected by this sick building.

It is yet another example of inadequate maintenance in our health facilities.

The Department needs to act speedily to fix the clinic building otherwise the situation will deteriorate even more.




Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

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