Gauteng health dept denies tender rigging
Johannesburg - The Gauteng health department on Tuesday denied allegations that it had lost millions of rands through maladministration and tender rigging.
"The department would like to state the incidents referred to in the auditor general's report occurred between 2004 and 2008 and since then steps have been taken to remedy the situation," spokesperson Simon Zwane said.
The Star newspaper reported on Tuesday that, according to a report by Auditor General Terence Nombembe, the department appointed contractors who did not have the correct qualifications and competence to build hospitals.
Nombembe allegedly found that Ilima Construction had been awarded a R1bn contract to build hospitals in Gauteng, the North West and Eastern Cape.
The contract was terminated when the department discovered that the company's "construction grade" allowed it to work on only projects worth between R30m and R100m.
According to the report, the department awarded three contracts worth R887m to a company that failed to submit a tax clearance certificate.
A R21.9m project at Sterkfontein Hospital, in Krugersdorp was terminated because of "insufficient progress" and a replacement contractor was appointed for R12m.
DA MP Jack Bloom was quoted as saying the AG's report illustrated the department's "disastrous incompetence".
"The distressing thing is that nobody has been held accountable for this appalling mess. Nobody has been fired or disciplined, so the mismanagement is likely to continue," he said.
Did not award contracts
Zwane said in a statement: "The department would also like to place on record that it was not involved in the awarding of the contracts referred.
"These contracts were handled by the department of infrastructure development as implementing agents of all government infrastructure projects."
He said a number of remedial steps had been taken to address the situation.
The national department of health has appointed an engineer to oversee all aspects of infrastructure and the National Health Council had approved the appointment of a resident engineer.
Expenditure per project was being monitored by the national department on a monthly basis, and improved plans were being implemented to ensure that funding was aligned to the infrastructure plans.
An integrated approach was being implemented to address health technology and infrastructure to ensure efficiency and better planning.
"In the province, the department of health and social development has taken steps to improve its capacity to exercise oversight on infrastructure projects," said Zwane.
The heads of the departments of infrastructure, health and social development and finance were also now monitoring the implementation of projects in the province.
They, in turn, would regularly report on progress being made.
"The provincial government is committed to ensuring the infrastructure projects are deliver within budget and without unnecessary delays," Zwane said.