Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

R40m spent to guard Charlotte Maxeke Hospital but thieves still managed to steal valuable items worth R200K

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Aug 16, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng Health Department is said to have spent more than R40 million on security guards and surveillance at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital (CMJH) annually but thieves have managed to breach security and steal valuable items.

This was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi in her written reply to questions by DA’s health spokesperson Jack Bloom in the provincial legislature.

Bloom asked MEC Mokgethi what items have been stolen from the hospital since the fire which broke out in April this year.

In her reply, she said 10 desktop computers, one fridge, six plasma TVs and three laptops saying the value of the desktop computers is R120 000.

Retail price for the fridge is R3 500. The six TVs amount to R30 000. Three laptops cost R45 000.

She said the estimated value of the stolen items reported to security was R200 000.

After the theft and the fire, Mokgethi said immediately after the fire no one was allowed inside the building.

“As a result, security was deployed in the residence area to safeguard staff parking. Security was also deployed to monitor the parameter fence of the hospital at gate 1 and 2. Additional security posted in the street to protect staff cars.

“During this time the hospital was monitored via CCTV situated in the control room next to the administration building. Once the building was declared structurally safe some security guards returned to their posts with the hospital precinct in Block 3 and 4 which were deemed unsafe,” Mokgethi said.

She said the department was spending R2 894 424.34 on security services and R450 000 on electronic surveillance security services each month.

Detailing what led to the theft of the items, Mokgethi said there was a need to unlock burglar bars of the wards due to the fire assessment saying those burglar doors were mostly situated towards the fire escape doors.

“On the side of the fire escape doors there was no CCTV to monitor the movement of people. The burglar doors were installed after SAPS conducted a security assessment in 2007.

“During that process security of assets was compromised due to about 150 fire doors which were required to stay opened for inspection purposes, thereby resulting in too many uncontrolled exits being created.

“Now, the burglar doors had to be removed because they are contravening the fire regulations. Security is patrolling the fire escape routes to monitor unwelcome people,” Mokgethi said.

She, however, said the theft did not have any major impact on the ability of the hospital to function, saying the data on the stolen computers was saved on the main server.

Mokgethi confirmed a case was opened at Hillbrow Police Station.

She also said that all security officers have returned to their posts except in areas still declared unsafe.

In his reply, Bloom said he was deeply suspicious about all the security contracts at Gauteng public hospitals as they were irregularly awarded in October 2014 for a two-period and then irregularly extended month-by -month at a total cost of more than R3 billion to date.

“The Gauteng Health Department has a poor record with corrupt and grossly overcharged security contracts.

“R40 million is enough for a small army and is clearly excessive to ensure security for CMJH. Thefts continue to occur and the security was unable to stop the trashing of the hospital by disgruntled workers in April 2018,” he said.

Bloom said the CMJH security contract was poor value for money and should be reviewed urgently.

“I am sure that millions of rand could be saved with a better contract, and this money is needed to provide better health care for patients,” he said.

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Political Bureau

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