NASREC Field Hospital cost R150 000 per patient

The Democratic Alliance notes the announcement last week by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi that the NASREC field hospital will be closed at the end of February as it is no longer needed.

According to Mokgethi, the field hospital only treated 287 intermediate level patients since it was opened despite a contract for 1000 beds that was signed in July last year.

This is separate from the 500-bed section at NASREC that saw 1254 Covid-19 patients who were there for isolation, and 117 people who were in quarantine but did not necessarily have the virus. These people could all have been given much cheaper hotel accommodation.

The overall cost of the NASREC beds is about R250 million, so this means that each person there effectively cost the provincial government R150 000 as they paid R380 per bed a day even when it was empty, and R390 per patient per day when occupied. It was even more expensive for the few actual patients who needed oxygen.

This has been an enormous waste of money and I suspect that there was corruption and gross overcharging. It is worrying that the

Auditor-General found that “the department did not invite as many suppliers as possible and there was no prior approval from the relevant treasury for the emergency procurement of the NASREC Field Hospital as required by treasury regulation.”

It is also suspicious that the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development has refused to make public the contract with NASREC my application to them using the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The NASREC facility could have been closed even earlier if the extra beds at existing hospitals had been completed by November last year as promised by Premier David Makhura.

The premier cannot claim ignorance of the low utilisation of the NASREC field hospital as this is where his Provincial Command Council meets regularly.

It is yet another failure by Makhura which justifies our motion of no confidence in him as he is not fit to govern.

Slow progress by police in Esidimeni deaths

25 May 2017

Gauteng police cannot give a date when investigations will be finalised concerning the deaths of more than 100 mental health patients transferred last year from Esidimeni to unsuitable NGOs.

According to a written reply by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, police are conducting 22 inquests but have been delayed by difficulties in identifying bodies.

The inquests have been lodged at the following police stations, which are all in Tshwane, related to where the deaths occurred:

Atteridgeville – 5 cases

Pretoria West – 4 cases

Pretoria Central – 3 cases

Cullinan – 10 cases

The Randfontein police are investigating murder, culpable homicide and corruption charges against former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu which were laid by ANC Gauteng Youth League Chairperson Matome Chiloane, EFF MPL Mandisa Mashego and myself.

According to Nkosi-Malobane, the following is outstanding for all inquest dockets:

– the total number of deceased persons

– the addresses and particulars of NGOs

– the statement of the authority person who approved the transfer of patients to the NGO

– the chain statements on the handling of the deceased from Precious Angel to Kalafong Hospital

– the chain statements on the handling of the body from Kalafong Hospital to the pathologist

– photographs taken during the post mortem examinations

– medical records kept by Precious Angels

– medical records of the deceased from Life Esidimeni

– hospital records from Kalafong

– statements from families of the deceased

– statements from the relevant person from the Department of Health

– statements from the owner of Precious Angels

I am concerned that easily obtainable information like the addresses of NGOs has still not been obtained by the police who don’t even know exactly how many people died.

It seems that inquests are only being done into deaths at the Tshwane-based NGOs, but many deaths took place in other parts of Gauteng. Why are these other deaths not being investigated as well?

Police incompetence should not delay justice in bringing to account all those implicated in the deaths.

National Police Minister Fikile Mbalula should ensure that top detectives are used to speed up the investigation which is unacceptably slow.

37 Dismissed Gauteng Health Workers Still in their Jobs

MEC Qedani Mahlangu

A bizarre situation has arisen whereby 37 employees in Gauteng public hospitals are working in their jobs despite being dismissed for offences that include fraud, gross misconduct, assault and theft. Most of these employees were initially suspended, but were allowed back because their appeal was not heard within the required 30 days.Jack Blom DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

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

Appeal Advisory Committee

The reason they are still working is because of long delays in hearing their appeals against dismissal. Out of 47 appeals, ten people were dismissed because of absence, but 37 others remain in their jobs earning a full salary.

The appeal that has dragged on the longest is that of a dentist at the Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston who appealed in October 2013. Three other appeals date back to November 2013, and there are 32 other appeals that have not been finalised after more than 6 months.

According to Mahlangu, the Appeal Advisory Committee is considering the appeals, following which they will give their recommendations to the MEC. She says that the recently appointed committee was dedicated in the last few months to clearing “a huge backlog” and that it is “working on a fast-track programme to ensure the finalisation of the outstanding appeals.”

This appalling breakdown in the disciplinary process means that there are known crooks and incompetents working in hospitals.

At the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, for instance, there are two pharmacist assistants and two messengers who were found guilty of theft, and a clerk who accepted a bribe.

The department’s gross incompetence in handling discipline needs urgent improvement.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

 [Image source]

DA Welcomes Firing of Fake Gauteng Doctors

I welcome the firing of eight Gauteng Health Department employees who were found to have falsified their qualifications.

According to Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, 10 cases were found – three administration clerks, two medical practitioners, two nursing auxiliary officers, two household workers and one porter.

Falsified Qualifications

Eight of these officials had falsified matric certificates and the other two medical qualifications.

Eight officials were dismissed, one given three months without pay and a final warning sanction, and the other is awaiting the appeal process to be concluded.

We Need Details

I am concerned that the two fake doctors may have injured patients who can sue for damages.

We need details about their activities and why they were allowed to practice without their qualifications being checked prior to employment.

Where did they practice, and how many patients did they see? There are claims that there are other fake doctors that need to be exposed.

I will be asking questions on this matter in the Gauteng Legislature.

There should be zero tolerance for people who give false qualifications, and this is especially important in the medical field where patients’ lives are at risk.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

[Image source]

64 Essential Medicines Short at Gauteng Hospitals

A total of 64 essential medicines are unavailable or in short supply at Gauteng public hospitals, causing severe problems for patients who need them.

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

According to Mahlangu, 86% of Vital medicines and 76% of Essential medicines are available.

Varying Shortages

Medicine shortages vary at different hospitals, depending on the level of care that is given.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the worst affected, with 51 drugs out of stock, followed by Leratong Hospital (50 items) and Kalafong Hospital which is short of 49 medicines.

The shortages at other major hospitals are as follows:

  • Helen Joseph Hospital –                 46
  • Steve Biko Academic –                  45
  • Edenvale Hospital –                       39
  • Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg –   37
  • South Rand Hospital –                   28

Out of stock medicines include:

  • Paracetomol tablets 500mg
  • Atenolol tablets
  • Amoxycillin acid suspension
  • Pethidine hydrochloride injection
  • Rantidine hydrochloride injection
  • Ibuprufen suspension 100mg
  • Calcium carbonate tablets
  • Zinc sulphate syrup
  • Lactulose syrup
  • Omeprazole capsules

(Full list available on request)

MEC Blames National Tenders

I am aware of cases where patients are given a script and told to buy from a private pharmacy, but many cannot afford to do this.

Mahlangu says that if stocks are low, patients get a one month supply instead of the usual 3 month supply, and that institutions assist each other where medicines are in short supply.

She blames the non-availability of medicines on national tenders and the failure of suppliers to build up the necessary stock levels to meet the province’s needs.

It is scandalous that nearly one in four essential medicines are not available in Gauteng public hospitals and clinics.

This appalling situation has dragged on for far too long and requires effective measures to ensure that medicines are always available.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

[Image source]

Mystery Abandoned Medicine in Vereeniging

Mystery surrounds the medicine from the Kopanong Hospital that has been found abandoned in Unitaspark in Vereeniging.

Local councillor Elize Aucamp has drawn my attention to this matter. She says that last week on Friday evening (27 February), patrollers from the Community Policing Forum found a bag with medicine inside in a field next to Peggy Duncan street in Unitaspark.

They took it to a pharmacist who has valued it at about R10 000.

The medicine is fairly recently expired and is marked as being from the Kopanong Hospital. It was issued to three people.

Click here to view photos.

Dumping of medicine is a serious issue as children can find it and eat it.

Cllr Aucamp will lay a charge of illegal dumping with the police.

If people have a large amount of unwanted medicine they should take it to a hospital or clinic for safe disposal.

Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

Disgraceful barring of media from Bara Hospital

I am appalled that members of the media were yesterday barred access to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.


According to a report, they were invited to accompany the Public Service Commission on an inspection of the hospital, but the hospital’s CEO Sandile Mfenyane said he was following instructions from the Gauteng Health Department in barring them.


This is utterly disgraceful. We seem to be going backwards in access to hospitals to investigate service delivery problems.


I have previously been banned from Bara Hospital, and last year I was escorted off the premises of Helen Joseph Hospital by security guards because the department said I did not have permission to be there.


According to the Constitution, public representatives have the right to do unannounced inspections, and media also have rights that have now been denied by this hospital.


The Gauteng Health Department should respect the Constitution and allow reasonable access to hospitals to assess conditions.


They are undermining democracy and are no doubt fearful that poor treatment of patients will be exposed, like the photograph of two babies in a cardboard box that a newspaper published some years ago following a visit to Bara Hospital.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222