DA claims work stoppages at Bronkhorstspruit Hospital, but provincial govt says work continues

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The Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
The Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
PHOTO: Alet Pretorius
  • Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said projects at the hospital were expected to be completed by the end of the month.
  • But DA claims "sub-contractors" have downed tools. 
  • Provincial government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said there were initially delays to projects in the province due to lockdown levels. 

The DA says "greedy" sub-contractors and a local ANC councillor in Bronkhorstspruit have been hobbling efforts to complete 150 new beds for Covid-19 at Bronkhorstspruit Hospital.

In a statement released by the party's MPL Jack Bloom on Sunday, according to councillor Bronwynn Engelbrecht, the extra beds should have been completed by 15 December last year, but sub-contractors have downed tools, demanding more money to finish the job.

"It appears that they have squandered money already paid to them by buying expensive cars.

"Engelbrecht has also been informed that a local ANC councillor has been encouraging these stoppages. This is putting pressure on BMW which is funding it as a social responsibility project," Bloom said.

While Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the upgrades at the hospital were expected to be completed by end January, that seemed unlikely, Bloom added.

He said further delays could be expected in staffing and equipping these beds as well.

Gauteng provincial government spokesperson Thabo Masebe told News24 on Sunday that work at Bronkhorstspruit was one of the projects announced by Makhura last Tuesday.

He said all the projects in various facilities were jointly being implemented by infrastructure development and health departments.  

Masebe said there were no work stoppages in  Bronkhorstspruit Hospital and work was continuing.

"Obviously, yes, during the initial stages of all the projects, there were delays and some of the delays could be attributed to levels of lockdown, but what I can tell you now is that both the departments; infrastructure development and health, are working flat out to ensure that all of these projects are delivered on time," Masebe said.

Bloom said it was questionable why extra beds were being set up so far from the densely populated parts of Tshwane where they were mostly needed.

Bloom said:

Extra beds at the Mamelodi and Kalafong hospitals would have been more useful in taking strain off the Steve Biko Hospital where Covid-19 patients are now being treated in tents in the parking lot. And where is the field hospital in Rosslyn that Makhura promised in May last year with the assistance of Nissan and BMW?

Bloom added that this was yet another example of "poor planning and botched implementation" of hospital projects that were urgently needed to save lives during the pandemic. 

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