In a statement on Thursday, the DA decried the use of half a billion rand from the Covid-19 budget on a hospital that “currently has only six Covid patients receiving low-level care”.
DA Gauteng member of the provincial legislature Jack Bloom said he had received a written reply about the AngloGold Ashanti hospital in the Far West Rand from Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi.
Bloom said: “Premier David Makhura opened this 181-bed hospital with great fanfare on 14 May, bu t according to Mokgethi only 25 Covid-19 patients have been treated so far in total. These patients receive ‘step down services’, and need to be transferred to other West Rand hospitals if they need specialist treatment.”
He pointed out that the tragedy was that after the mining company donated the hospital, the expensive refurbishment of this hospital was meant to have provided ICU beds, “but they cannot be used as they do not have equipment”.
“None of the beds have oxygen provision for patients, which is the main thing that saves lives in this terrible epidemic.”
He said 32 staff were running the hospital and 24 more staff were being recruited to start on 1 August.
“It is scandalous that so much money has been spent on this hospital which is far from major population centres and currently has 175 empty beds and vastly more staff than patients.
“Meanwhile, other public hospitals are straining to cope with the flood of Covid-19 patients and many die because of a dire shortage of ICU beds.”
He said it would have been far better to have spent the R500 million on extra beds and staff at other hospitals, rather than “this white elephant hospital”.
Bloom added that the Special Investigating Unit investigating the spending of funds on the hospital confirmed his suspicion that corruption was involved in “this appalling waste of money”.