The re-opening of operating theatres at the Pretoria West Hospital has been delayed by more than two years because of a slow air-conditioning contractor.
This is revealed in a written reply by Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The refurbishment started on 12 October 2012 and was supposed to be completed on 1 February 2013.
But according to Mayathula-Khoza, Cool Breeze Air-conditioning and Refrigeration started the installation late and a strained relationship between them and a sub-contractor also contributed to the delay.
The handover of the project will be later this month, but the theatres won’t be operational for several more months as testing and deep cleaning needs to be done.
Warning letters were sent to the contractor on 28 October 2014 and 24 November 2014. They are currently placed on terms and incurring penalties of R2846 per day.
R4.5 million has so far been spent on this project, and it is expected that another R1.132 million will be spent to complete it.
It is outrageous that a 5 month project has taken more than two and a half years, during which time no surgery could be performed at the hospital and patients had to be transferred elsewhere for operations.
Infrastructure Development Department needs a shake-up
It is yet another example of the department’s abysmal incompetence that includes a poor choice of contractor and a lack of project management to avoid delays.
For instance, why was the first warning letter only sent in October 2014 when the project was supposed to be finished 20 months earlier?
Meanwhile, patients have suffered because surgery could not be done at the hospital.
The Infrastructure Development Department needs a management shake-up to ensure that hospital projects are completed expeditiously.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222