Parliament’s joint standing committee on defence has slammed the Department of Defence and Military Veterans for blowing over R1 billion on outsourced medical services in the past 10 years.
The department has had to seek outside medical treatments because of its neverending repair and maintenance programme at 1 Military Hospital.
Outsourcing medical treatment has also led to a skills drainage at the country’s military health services hospital in Tshwane.
The committee referred to the refurbishment programme as an “unmitigated disaster”, costing the state millions in private healthcare.
It also accused the department of showing “complete disregard and unwillingness” to account for the millions spent since the project began in 2005.
“The committee finds it completely unacceptable that the Department of Defence and Military Veterans has shown complete disregard and unwillingness to account for the 1 Military Hospital in Tshwane’s unending repair and maintenance programme,” said the committee chairperson Cyril Xaba.
In early September, the committee asked to see the hospital forensic report from the departments of defence and public works.
“We are concerned the defence department failed to brief the committee on the forensic report that they have been sitting on for about a year,” said Xaba.
The department said the report needed to be vetted by its internal structures due to its “sensitive nature”.
“The committee’s concerns are based on the defence department’s unwillingness to share the findings of a forensic investigation into the matter,” said Xaba.
The committee also accused the department of refusing to take action against senior staff members who allegedly acted unlawfully in relation to the project.
The Citizen attempted to get a response from the Department of Defence but we were told that staff were not available because they were attending a year-end function.
We will update the story as and when we get a response.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney