SurgeZirc SA reports that the Gauteng Health Department has paid 59 security companies R2.6 billion for contracts to guard public hospitals that were supposed to expire five years ago but have been irregularly extended every month.
This was made known in a statement issued on Monday by Jack Bloom, the DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC.
According to the statement it was revealed that the Gauteng Health MEC, Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to DA’s questions in the Gauteng Legislature, made the disclosure.
“According to Mokgethi, the original two-year contracts were meant to expire in September 2016. However, “due to the critical nature of the services, there was a need for extension of contracts, therefore the service rendered needs to be paid.
“Mokgethi says that in 2016 the Department advertised for new security contracts, but the tender was subsequently cancelled.
“Another tender was advertised on 11 September last year but “due to the high volume of the responses as well as the various phases of evaluation process, it is at the final stage,” the statement reads.
Bloom in his statement branded the act as extremely poor management of security tenders which appear to be grossly overpriced and should have been reviewed five years ago.
“One example is R3 million spent every month for security at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which is ridiculously high and was unable to stop R30 million theft of copper pipes following the fire there in April this year.
“Every year the Auditor-General is critical of huge irregular spending by the department, including about R600 million of hospital security contracts that have been extended on a month by month basis for five years.
“I suspect corruption as it is a typical trick to get a tender for a limited period which is then extended for much longer,” Bloom said.
Bloom has however, noted that the department can save a lot of money by regular reviews of security contracts to ensure value for money and effectiveness.
“Far too much is spent wastefully when every penny is needed to provide decent health care for patients who suffer from services in our hospital and clinics,” He concluded.