Plundering of state coppers: DA calls for axing of security company at Charlotte Maxeke hospital

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Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital has been subjected to rampant theft.
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital has been subjected to rampant theft.
PHOTO: Sthembiso Lebuso/City Press
  • The DA in Gauteng has called for the security company at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital to be fired.
  • This follows major copper theft at the hospital.
  • In 2021, the Gauteng health department said that it spent more than R3 million a month on security at the hospital.

The DA in Gauteng has called for the security company at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg to be fired following further major copper theft.

According to Gauteng DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom, copper piping worth R3 million was stolen from above an operating theatre over the weekend of 7 January.

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"This follows the theft last year of copper cables worth R30 million and equipment worth R200 000 from the hospital," Bloom added.

He said these high-value thefts occurred despite more than R30 million spent every year at the hospital, which was supposed to have functioning security cameras at key locations as well.

"I suspect there has been inside collusion with these thefts, but whatever the reason, the security company has to be held accountable."

READ | Gauteng health dept says it is doing everything 'humanly possible' to get Charlotte Maxeke back on track

Bloom said all Gauteng hospital security contracts were supposed to be advertised more than six years ago after the expiry of the previous two-year contracts, but these contracts had been irregularly extended on a month-by-month basis.

Following a fire at the hospital in April 2021, Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said the work to complete the casualty section suffered a setback due to theft.

The department declared that it spent more than R3 million a month on security at the hospital, where items valued at R200 000 were stolen.

READ | More than R3m a month spent on security at Charlotte Maxeke hospital where items were stolen

Bloom said there was an urgent need for new security contracts at all Gauteng public hospitals to ensure cost-effective and efficient security to stop theft and protect staff and patients.

Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Motalatale Modiba confirmed that gas copper pipes worth around R3 million were stolen from the hospital. He said a case of theft was opened at Hillbrow police station.

Modiba said the "impact of the theft was minimal". He added that no operations were postponed and that there were only delays in starting times.

Modiba said the department was responsible for security services and that the day-to-day management of security had been outsourced to private company Mafoko Security Patrols.

He said: "The Gauteng Department of Health has undertaken a review of security measures across its facilities with the view to strengthen the state of security at our institutions, which includes the deploying of integrated measures such as the use of technology to better secure our facilities and our workforce."

"This forms part of our ongoing review of our security arrangements across the service platform."

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