MEC lashes out at Bara Hospital contractors

Friday, November 13, 2009

Johannesburg - Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Nonhlanhla Mazibuko has lashed out at contractors employed to renovate the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital after discovering the shocking lack of progress on the project.

During her visit to the hospital on Friday, as part of government's Public Participation Programme, aimed at giving citizens an opportunity to directly interact with government, the MEC found incomplete projects and poor workmanship.

Steam boilers were not working and theatre and laundry services were out of order. She further discovered leaking roofs and potholes along the corridors.

Some ceilings had been replaced without any water proofing. In some parts, the external roof did not cover the new ceiling panels which had now been damaged. Contractors also failed to install external gutters and down drainage pipes.

Further to this, the contractors had installed the incorrect taps for a hospital facility. They put in normal screw type taps instead of the medical elbow action taps used for infection control.

This was despite government investing millions in the project to renovate the major hospital in the south of Johannesburg.

The hospital has spent R12 million on construction managers and consultants who failed to inspect materials as per specification and prevent poor workmanship. The project was to commence on 16 February 2009 and end two months later on 31 March 2009.

However, it was still stalled, eight months later.

A visibility disappointed and angry Mazibuko has warned that unless they began to provide quality work, the department would do away with the contractors.

"You are given work to do and getting paid but you fail to deliver, but when we don't give you any work, you will start accusing us of using well established contractors. We are bringing you on board but you don't want to do a proper work," said an emotional MEC.

The MEC was given a tour of the renovation projects by the Acting Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Johanna More.

More explained that further to what she had already witnessed, the contractor employed to give Ward 13A and B and Ward 38 a facelift was working too slow, forcing them to shut the wards down.

In spite of renovations done in November 2007, Ward 23 was experiencing severe water leakages and Ward 24 had a crack in its dressing room, despite the renovation done in the 2008/2009 period.

Mazibuko said that she wanted a state-of-the-art hospital. "We want workman be on site, instead of the offices so that they can quickly address the problems arising, anytime of the day."

She said that they would have to find sponsors and funders because they did not have the money to complete the work needed on the hospital.

"There won't be any new facilities to build, we have a shortfall of R150 million and hope to get the money so that everything would be finished by March next year and hand over to you, but it has to be something you are proud of," Mazibuko told the

She also noted that from the next two years the department hoped to focus on the buildings maintenance.