The plot thickens over the Gauteng Provincial Government’s health infrastructure programme, planned for a Covid-19 wave that has now passed, which is starting to look like a big white elephant. The worst part is that the buildings and ICU units that were supposed to be up and running when Covid-19 hit SA’s most densely populated province, are still under construction.
Gauteng’s Covid-19 infrastructure splurge: Where’s Andy, the multimillion-rand floor man, and why was he paid so much?
Either the latest Gauteng Expenditure Disclosure report got its maths wrong by nearly R200m, or the Department of Infrastructure Development paid almost R190m over its budget for wooden floors for tents put up at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to manage the Covid-19 emergency.
The Gauteng government has spent hundreds of millions of rands on ‘barrack-style field hospitals’ in anticipation of a Covid-19 surge which has already passed, with most of these nowhere near close to completion. Doctors say these structures were also not fit for purpose and warned billions more could be wasted. This suggests the construction of 1,400 additional ICU beds, a signature project of the provincial health department may turn out to be the biggest misspending of emergency health funds that has yet bedevilled the pandemic response.