Hospitals’ expired contracts
Irregularly awarded tenders
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’