The Gauteng Health Department has paid 59 security companies R2.6 billion for contracts to guard public hospitals that were supposed to expire five years ago but have allegedly been irregularly extended every month.
This was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to questions posed by DA spokesperson on health, Jack Bloom, in the Gauteng Legislature recently.
According to Mokgethi, the original two-year contracts were meant to expire in September 2016. However, Mokgethi had not in the written reply that “due to the critical nature of the services, there was a need for extension of contracts, therefore the service rendered needs to be paid.”
Mokgethi said that in 2016 the department had advertised for new security contracts, but the tender was subsequently cancelled. Another tender was advertised on 11 September last year but “due to the high volume of the responses as well as the various phases of evaluation process, it is at the final stage.”
“This is extremely poor management of security tenders which appear to be grossly overpriced and should have been reviewed five years ago. One example is R3 million spent every month for security at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which is ridiculously high and was unable to stop R30 million theft of copper pipes following the fire there in April this year,” Bloom said.
“Every year the Auditor-General is critical of huge irregular spending by the department, including about R600 million of hospital security contracts that have been extended on a month by month basis for five years,” he said.
“The department can save a lot of money by regular reviews of security contracts to ensure value for money and effectiveness. Far too much is spent wastefully when every penny is needed to provide decent health care for patients who suffer from services in our hospital and clinics.