Renovation work on the psychiatric wing of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg has been postponed again. This time because the contractor was not paid, reports Jack Bloom, DA health spokesperson in Gauteng. Unpaid workers now flooded the wing with water and staff and patients had to evacuate the wing. “Patients are now accommodated in insufficient temporary wings,” says Bloom.
Renovation work on this wing should have been completed by 2014, but has been postponed four times. The renovation will increase the number of available beds from 20 beds to 40. “In 2016, the cost of the work has already tripled to R34 million. Then Gwen Ramakgopa, then MEC for Health, had already promised the hospital would be completed in March 2018, ”says Bloom. Later, the deadline was postponed to October 31 this year, but the work was still not completed.
“It just goes to show how incompetent the Department of Infrastructure Development is. They are constantly choosing contractors who cannot do the work or fail to pay them, so they abandon the project, ”says Bloom. It is now all the fourth contracting firm appointed to complete wing work.