Johannesburg pathology services building not complete after six years

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A general view of Helen Joseph Hospital. Photo Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle
A general view of Helen Joseph Hospital. Photo Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle


Almost six years after the construction of the new forensic pathology services building in Johannesburg commenced, the multimillion-rand project next to Helen Joseph Hospital is still not complete.

This was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi on Tuesday in a written reply to questions tabled by the DA in the provincial legislature.

READ: Families in limbo as postmortem backlog reaches 10 900

Mokgethi said the construction of the pathology services building had started on November 3 2016 and was supposed to have been completed on November 3 2019. However, it was only 71% complete at the time.

Mokgethi said: 

The original budget for this project was just over R588 million and, so far, about R333 million has been spent.

“The original plan was to refurbish and rehabilitate the existing facility that is situated in Hillbrow, but, after an assessment of the facility, it was decided to rather build a new one and incorporate a head office, as well as a basement parking for the existing nurses’ college at Helen Joseph Hospital. However, the poor performance of the construction team and change in designs during the construction stage has led to additional works and cost increases,” Mokgethi said.

READ: Unidentified bodies in Gauteng: How the system works and plans to improve it

She added that the contractors were currently busy with the installation of mini-subs, epoxy on postmortem and autopsy rooms, mesh fencing, parking and door installation, partitioning on the ground floor and also testing lifts.

Construction was expected to be completed by January 2023.

However, the DA’s Gauteng health shadow MEC Jack Bloom said pathologists continued to work at the decrepit Hillbrow mortuary instead of a new building that should have been completed two-and-a-half years ago.

Bloom said:

This is yet another example of the notorious incompetence of the Gauteng department of infrastructure development (GDID), which hardly ever completes a project on schedule and within budget.

“Corruption is also a factor as fishy contractors, who are unable to finish the job, are often selected and have to be replaced at an extra expense.”

Bloom added that the DA had called for the GDID to be shut down and replaced by a competent entity that could get the job done.

“Premier David Makhura needs to take this decisive action, otherwise, Gauteng residents will continue to suffer from endless delays in vital building projects.”


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