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