Hospital guards target of protest

DA councillor Gert Niemand and DA Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom at a recent oversight visit at Discovery Clinic. (Photo: Stock)

Guards were pushed out of several Gauteng hospitals on Tuesday (1 August) by protesters angry at the extension of irregular security contracts that were meant to expire in September last year.

The West Rand Security Forum (WRSF) has vowed to continue the action today against security guards at clinics and hospitals on the West Rand, including the Leratong, Yusuf Dadoo, Sterkfontein and Carletonville hospitals.

They are outraged that security contracts for Gauteng hospitals that cost more than R500 million a year have been extended “until further notice”, despite a forensic audit finding that they were irregularly awarded.

Read more: Photos: Another building burnt by ‘protesters’

“I sympathise with their frustration as it is inexplicable that these contracts are extended when a tender process has already taken place to identify new companies to guard the hospitals and clinics,” said Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC.

“According to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, the contracts were awarded on 1 October 2014 and were supposed to end on 31 September 2016.

“The contracts cover 34 hospitals and 188 clinics, and cost R525 million from October 2015 to September 2016.

“I am concerned that 16 security companies that should not have qualified to get contacts are still guarding hospitals and clinics ten months after the original two-year contract has expired,” said Bloom.

“Is this because they are funnelling money to the ANC? The Department’s security costs have more than doubled in the last four years and I suspect we are getting poor value for money,” he said.

The WRSF said that protest action will extend to other regions in Gauteng as well.

“Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa should expedite the new security contracts rather than extending the irregular over-priced contracts,” he concluded.

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  AUTHOR
Riaan van Zyl
Journalist

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