DA welcomes SAHPRA investigation of Tembisa Hospital payments

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the statement by SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) that they are investigating alleged procurement by Tembisa Hospital of hospital consumables and medical devices in breach of the Medicines and Related Substances Act (Act 101 of 1965, as amended).

According to SAHPRA, they are working with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), and the Acting CEO of Tembisa hospital is cooperating with SAHPRA officials.

I wrote to SAHPRA earlier this week concerning 12 companies that got R381 million in contracts from Gauteng public hospitals in the last three years, but according to Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, they were not registered with SAPHRA. This information is contained in an official reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature – R356 million of the payments were from Tembisa Hospital, R22 million from Mamelodi Hospital, and R2.4 million from other hospitals

These companies are linked to Mr Hangwani Morgan Maumela, a nephew by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first marriage, and also reportedly close to the president’s chief adviser Bejani Chauke.

Maumela has been identified as a central figure (the “Don”) in the Tembisa Hospital purchases that murdered whistle-blower Babita Deokaran flagged as “possibly corrupt, scoring R36 million in contracts last year in one month alone.

He also has ties to Bejani Chauke, who is Ramaphosa’s principal political advisor. They are neighbours in a plush Hyde Park complex in walking distance of Ramaphosa’s private residence.

There are significant penalties for non-registration with SAHPRA. My view is those non-compliant companies should be barred from doing any further business with the Gauteng Health Department.

Charlotte Maxeke Hospital short of more than 1000 parking spaces

The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital has made slow progress in providing parking to replace what was destroyed in the fire 18 months ago, with a shortage of more than 1000 parking spaces.

According to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, the hospital used to have 1700 on-site parking bays, but now has only 229 bays in the hospital and 400 nearby.

This means there are 1071 fewer parking bays than previously.

Alternative parking is provided at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (140 bays), 120 at the Johannesburg College, 80 at the hospital residence, and 60 at the Wits Web Help Building.

I have proposed that the hospital use the parking at the province-owned Emoyeni Conference Centre which is opposite the hospital. Nkomo-Ralehoko says that the hospital requested parking at Emoyeni from the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) in October 2021, but was informed
that the parking bays are not accessible as it was privately leased.

Confusingly, she says that her department “will approach the Department of Land Affairs through National Department of Health to negotiate the use of parking at Emoyeni.”

An extra 300 rebuilt parking bays are supposed to be available on 6 November this year, and the hospital has approached Wits University and KPMG for more off-site parking using shuttle services.

Meanwhile, hundreds of staff and patients are frustrated every day as they hunt for parking and walk long distances to get to the hospital.

It shows the poor leadership of CMJH CEO Gladys Bogoshi who should have pushed far earlier for solutions to alleviate this parking crisis.

For instance, why are they only now approaching the Department of Land Affairs in order to use the Emoyeni parking?

The DA proposes that hospital CEOs be appointed using rigorous criteria to ensure that only tiptop people are chosen who get things done, instead of weak CEOs chosen for political reasons.

Full repair of Charlotte Maxeke hospital only in 2026

Despite promises that the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital will be fully repaired by the end of next year, the fire safety measures will only be achieved in February 2026.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in an oral reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature last week.

According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, the repairs to Blocks 4 and 5 are scheduled for completion in December 2023, but “the fire completion work in Block 1 to 5 and administration relating to the non-compliance findings by the City of Johannesburg will be completed by 26 February 2026.”

The reason for the delay in installing fire safety measures is that patients in each of the 5 blocks will be decanted for six to eight months for each block.

The faster option recommended by the project management team was that two blocks be worked on simultaneously, but this would have required the decanting of services to other hospitals.

Clinicians at the hospital opted to keep all the services at the hospital, which means that only one block at a time can be worked on, instead of multiple blocks at the same time.

Unfortunately, there will be a disruption for patients moved from block to block as the fire safety measures are put in.

Nkomo-Ralehoko gives the total cost at R1 billion, but this could change due to private donations including the Solidarity Fund and the Gift of the Givers.

It is disappointing that there will be more delays in ensuring this hospital is fully repaired with fire safety installations to prevent a repeat of the devastating fire last year.

The DA advocates catch-up measures to cut the considerable waiting lists for surgery at this hospital, including the payment of private hospitals to do operations for public patients.