Gauteng health officials spent R2.6-billion on security contracts that were supposed to have expired in 2016.
The province’s health department paid the money to 59 security companies to guard public hospitals.
The contracts were “irregularly extended” every month.
Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed the information in a written response to questions posed by DA health spokesperson, Jack Bloom.
According to Mokgethi, the original two-year contracts were meant to expire in September 2016. However, “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 says the department 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 the evaluation process, it is at the final stage”.
Tenders ‘grossly overpriced’
Bloom says this is “extremely poor management of security tenders”. He says the tenders 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,” says Bloom.
Bloom says “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 believes the department can save a lot of money by regular reviews of security contracts. This, he says, will ensure value for money and effectiveness.
Bloom adds that far too much is spent wastefully. “Every penny is needed to provide decent health care for patients who suffer from services in hospitals and clinics.”