Call for public-private partnership to open Charlotte Maxeke hospital after major fire damage
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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has proposed a private-public partnership which will ensure the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital opens within a year.
Sections of the hospital were gutted by fire in April this year affecting thousands of in- and outpatients from accessing the facility.
Currently only the oncology department is operating from the building.
Last month the Gauteng legislature was informed by infrastructure MEC Tasneem Motara that the hospital will fully open in 2023 but did not give the date.
DA Gauteng shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom, however, said the partnership was necessary as thousands of patients were suffering severe hardship as major sections of the hospital remained closed for the repair of the fire-damaged sections.
“Motara’s dysfunctional department failed to do the fire safety audits at the hospital that could have prevented the fire, and it cannot be trusted to complete any project on time and within budget. A sad example is the renovation of the psychiatric ward at CMJH which took 11 years at a cost of R35 million, which was triple the original budget. This project had to go out on tender four times as the first three contractors failed to finish the job,” said Bloom.
He said it was unthinkable that the department’s “incompetence” could delay the opening of this major hospital for a lengthy period.
“Another issue is the alleged lack of building plans for the hospital, and safety issues raised by the Johannesburg City Council. It is a complete falsity to claim there were no building plans because the hospital was designated a national key point as there was no provision for secrecy in this regard.”
According to Bloom, a number of commemorative books and articles have been published with a fair amount of detail on the hospital’s layout.
Bloom maintained the DA’s Johannesburg caucus leader Leah Knott had put questions to the Johannesburg MMC for development planning concerning the whereabouts of the plans which should be in their records section, as well as the issues that need to be resolved for an occupancy certificate to be issued to the hospital.
“We need to know whether the plans are genuinely lost, and what can be done to cut the red tape and comply with the safety requirements, or obtain temporary exemption so the hospital can function as soon as possible,” he said.
Bloom said every delay led to extra suffering for patients who were not getting proper specialist treatment, and also overcrowding other hospitals, with lives being lost as well.
“The surgery backlogs are massive and need to be cut soon. We believe if we put the best brains to work on this project without bureaucratic obstacles it can be done,” he said.