The Gauteng Health Department does not intend to use the Anglo Ashanti Hospital in the Far West Rand despite spending about R700 million refurbishing and briefly staffing it.
This is revealed by Acting Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Nkomo-Ralehoko: “The Department has since terminated the lease and has no intention to continue with the project. There is no planned work for the financial year and in future.”
This is a shattering admission of a massive waste of money that should have been spent on improving existing hospitals that desperately need more staff and equipment.
This hospital was donated by the AngloGold Ashanti mining company to assist in treating Covid 19 patients, but R500 million was spent to refurbish it even though the lease was never finalised, nor was the building transferred to the department.
Only 147 Covid patients were treated at the hospital since it was Premier David Makhura partially opened it in May last year.
It was supposed to have 181 ICU beds, but none of these were completed and only 56 ordinary beds were available for patients.
Originally they were going to spend R50 million on it for Covid patients, but the Gauteng Command Council mysteriously took a decision to upgrade the project to ICU beds. This was a stupid decision for a hospital far from major population centres.
It is no surprise that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating possible corruption in the refurbishment contracts for the hospital.
It’s another big fail that justifies the DA’s motion of no confidence against Premier David Makhura who is unable to curb corruption and wasteful spending.
The DA will continue to press for full accountability in this matter, including prosecutions for anyone implicated in corrupt contracts.