0023 Jabulani / Zola Hospital in Soweto has been under construction since 2006, there is talk that the hospital would be completed at the end of this year. Picture: Mujahid Safodien 06 03 2012


CONSTRUCTION of the multi-|million-rand Zola/Jabulani Hospital is still far from complete – more than five years after work started.

The 300-bed hospital, meant to ease congestion at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, should have been finished by March 2008.

It was, however, delayed by mismanagement, tender irregularities and budget overruns. The initial tender of R336 million was issued in 2005 to a joint venture between iLima Projects, Motheo Construction Group, Yikusasa Building Contractors and TTR General Building Construction.

Motheo, Yikusasa and TTR then pulled out, and the project collapsed.

iLima was awarded another contract in 2007, but it was cancelled after it emerged that the firm was awarded the tender without a valid tax clearance certificate. The contract was then awarded to Maziya General Services in 2009.

At the time, the costs were said to have escalated by 40 percent to R480m. The costs have since spiralled to more than R600m – almost double the initial cost.

Former infrastructure development MEC Faith Mazibuko promised, during a site visit in August 2010, that construction would be completed by last December.

“I am pleased with the construction progress so far and am convinced that the deadline will be met,” said Mazibuko at the time. She is now the community safety MEC.

But it could take almost an-|other year before construction is complete.

“The completion date was moved from December 2011 to March 22, 2012. But this hasn’t worked out and no one really knows... I won’t be surprised if it takes another year,” said a source, one of those tasked with overseeing of the project.

Yesterday, Maziya CEO Chris Delport could not say when the hospital would be completed. He said a meeting was scheduled with the department today.

Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said yesterday the delays were unacceptable.

“At this stage, I think we have extended too much. Four years (of extension) is a lot,” she said, during an inspection visit.

She said the hospital would now be completed by August.

But sources maintained that even the latest date would not be met. They cited changes, escalating costs and constant late payments to the contractor among the many problems.

Repeated attempts to get comment from the Infrastructure Development Department proved unsuccessful.

l The Gauteng budget released this week includes R495m in 2012/13 for building new health infrastructure, which includes finishing the Zola/ Jabulani District Hospital and the New Natalspruit Regional Hospital, the commissioning of the Bertha Gxowa District Hospital, and building new clinics and community health centres.

The three hospitals will receive R452m in 2012/13, then R345m in 2013/14 and R5m in 2014/15 to get finished. No deadlines or split between budgets for the three hospitals are specified.