‘No cause for alarm’ as DA re­ports 1 324 hospi­tal de­fects

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHANYISILE NGCOBO AND MODIEGI MASHAMAITE

The Gaut­eng De­part­ment of In­fras­truc­ture Devel­op­ment says the high num­ber of iden­ti­fied build­ing de­fects at Char­lotte Max­eke Aca­demic Hospi­tal are no cause for alarm.

This comes af­ter al­le­ga­tions emerged over the slow pace in re­pair­ing more than 1 000 re­ported build­ing de­fects at the hospi­tal.

DA Gaut­eng health spokesper­son Jack Bloom said in a state­ment that build­ing de­fects at the hospi­tal stood at an alarm­ing fig­ure of 1 324, with a seem­ingly slow re­pair rate.

This was con­firmed by Gaut­eng MEC for In­fras­truc­ture Devel­op­ment Ja­cob Mam­abolo in a writ­ten re­ply to Bloom’s ques­tions in the Gaut­eng leg­is­la­ture.

A staff mem­ber at the hospi­tal, who wishes to re­main anony­mous, said the de­fects had been re­ported nu­mer­ous times.

“Staff mem­bers have had to deal with leak­ing roofs and flooded park­ing bays, which make it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for work­ers and pa­tients to walk across or park their cars,” said the staff mem­ber.

“These is­sues have been there for years but have fallen on deaf ears; it was only when the roof col­lapsed early this year that the can of worms was opened.”

Other is­sues raised in­cluded ma­ter­nity ward pa­tients some­times hav­ing to shower in cold wa­ter, and roof leaks in wards.

Ear­lier this year, the hospi­tal was em­broiled in con­tro­versy when the roof over the en­trance foyer col­lapsed, re­sult­ing in five peo­ple be­ing in­jured. The de­part­ment’s probe found the con­trac­tor was to blame.

Mam­abolo’s spokesper­son, Theo Nkonki, yes­ter­day con­firmed that the de­part­ment was aware of the de­fects and was at­tend­ing to them.

“On June 30, work was done to freeze the sup­ply line us­ing liq­uid ni­tro­gen so we can change a faulty valve. At the mo­ment, we are do­ing work to change a piece of cor­roded pip­ing.”

Nkonki said work was be­ing done to wa­ter­proof the roof in phases due to the size of the hospi­tal. He was un­able to cor­rob­o­rate the ve­rac­ity of the high num­ber of de­fects sug­gested by Bloom. “De­fects are fixed ev­ery day, there­fore, you can­not have a de­fin­i­tive num­ber.”

Nkonki said the state of pub­lic hos­pi­tals was “not at a level where we should be alarmed”. Asked if the process of deal­ing with re­pairs was neg­a­tively af­fected by the use of a “next-in-line” ap­proach rather than an open ten­der process for each new project, he said there was noth­ing un­to­ward about this.

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