Will Gauteng’s six new hospitals be built speedily within budget?

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province (SOPA) address last week that six new hospitals will be built in Gauteng in this decade.

My concern is that the Gauteng provincial government has a poor track record in building health facilities – it usually takes double the estimated time and double the budget.

Failed promises about hospital building have been made before e.g. former Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi promised a new hospital in Soshanguve six years ago.

It is estimated that about 2000 extra hospital beds are needed for Gauteng’s growing population, and new hospitals need to be in places where patients are currently grossly under-served.

Tembisa Hospital has the worst overcrowding which will be alleviated if the Kempton Park hospital is re-opened as well as the promised hospital in Diepsloot.

Upgrading Lilian Ngoyi Clinic to a planned 556 bed hospital will take the strain off the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Bheki Mlangeni hospitals in the Soweto area.

A Daveyton hospital has long been promised as well as a new hospital to replace the decrepit Jubillee hospital.

A new hospital is also needed in the Heidelberg area.

Six new hospitals will cost about R9 billion. Government will need to find this money and make sure that costs don’t balloon because of corruption and inefficiency.

I doubt that the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department has the ability to build these hospitals without delays and cost over-runs, so innovative arrangements involving the private sector should be sought.