Hos­pi­tals’ ex­pired con­tracts

Ir­reg­u­larly awarded ten­ders

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - JAMES THABO MOLELEKWA

GUARDS have been pushed out of sev­eral Gaut­eng hos­pi­tals over the past two days by an­gry pro­test­ers. The pro­test­ers are an­gry about the ex­ten­sion of al­leged ir­reg­u­lar se­cu­rity con­tracts that were meant to ex­pire in Septem­ber last year.

The West Rand Se­cu­rity Fo­rum (WRSF) has vowed to con­tinue protest­ing against the post­ing of se­cu­rity guards at clin­ics and hos­pi­tals on the West Rand, in­clud­ing the Ler­a­tong, Yusuf Dadoo, Sterk­fontein and Car­letonville hos­pi­tals.

They are out­raged that se­cu­rity con­tracts for Gaut­eng hos­pi­tals that cost more than R500 mil­lion a year have been ex­tended un­til fur­ther no­tice, de­spite a foren­sic au­dit hav­ing found that they were ir­reg­u­larly awarded.

WRSF sec­re­tary Moabi Modise said the or­gan­i­sa­tion had man­aged to shut down the Ler­a­tong Hos­pi­tal and planned to con­tinue to shut down all the pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties on the West Rand.

“We want the depart­ment to give new se­cu­rity con­tracts to com­pa­nies un­der the WRSF,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Modise, not a sin­gle se­cu­rity com­pany from the West Rand has been awarded a con­tract to guard any pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties in the area.

Modise said the is­su­ing of ir­reg­u­lar se­cu­rity con­tracts has been on­go­ing since 2014, and au­thor­i­ties were aware of the prob­lem.

“We wrote a let­ter to the district on July 6, telling them all our com­plaints, but we haven’t got any re­sponse,” he said, ex­plain­ing why the fo­rum had de­cided to protest and shut down fa­cil­i­ties.

Ir­reg­u­larly awarded con­tracts to se­cure Gaut­eng hos­pi­tals have been run­ning for al­most a year af­ter they ex­pired last Septem­ber.

Gaut­eng Health MEC Gwen Ramok­gopa said ac­cord­ing to le­gal ad­vice, the im­pli­cated com­pa­nies need to be given an op­por­tu­nity to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions. One of the com­pa­nies aban­doned site be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tion could be fi­nalised.

The se­nior of­fi­cial re­spon­si­ble was dis­missed and po­lice have laid crim­i­nal charges against him. Dis­ci­plinary ac­tion was also taken against four of­fi­cials who sat on the bid com­mit­tee that awarded the con­tracts.

“My con­cern is that 16 se­cu­rity com­pa­nies that should not have qual­i­fied for th­ese con­tracts are still guard­ing hos­pi­tals and clin­ics 10 months af­ter the orig­i­nal two-year con­tract ex­pired,” said Jack Bloom of the DA.

“I sym­pa­thise with their frus­tra­tions as it is in­ex­pli­ca­ble that th­ese con­tracts are ex­tended when a ten­der process has al­ready iden­ti­fied new com­pa­nies to guard the hos­pi­tals and clin­ics,” said Bloom.

The WRSF said that protest ac­tion will ex­tend to other re­gions in Gaut­eng as well.

Gaut­eng Health Depart­ment spokesper­son Prince Ham­nca said: “We have as­signed our se­cu­rity team to go to the West Rand and as­sess the sit­u­a­tion there. We can­not al­low the protests to con­tinue and so we will en­gage with those peo­ple to hear their con­cerns.” – Health-e News

‘We will ex­tend protest ac­tion to other re­gions’

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