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National health department roped in to repair Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Ten months after the fire incident at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, the Gauteng government has called in the National Ministry of Health to repair the facility.

Gauteng’s provincial government made the announcement Thursday morning during a media briefing at the facility.

The project to restore the hospital is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Charlotte Maxeke hospital

A fire in April last year destroyed parts of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and denied many patients access to the facility.

The Director General in the Prime Minister’s Office, Thabo Masebe, said Prime Minister David Makhura has signed a proclamation to transfer all functions related to the renovations at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital from the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) to the National Ministry of Health.

Masebe said the delays in repairing the hospital were due in part to the lack of an agreement between the health department and the GDID.

“The Ministry of Health disagreed on the scope of work and the budget proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development…

“The Prime Minister then made the decision that he would transfer the function of this hospital from the Infrastructure Development Department to the Ministry of Health,” Masebe said.

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He said the transfer would therefore help accelerate the facility’s repair project before the end of next year.

“The transfer of functions enabled the National Ministry of Health to appoint the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) at the request of the Gauteng Department of Health as the executive body for the rehabilitation work at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.”

Project manager appointed

Head of Infrastructure at the National Ministry of Health, Ayanda Dakela. Image: Delivered

The head of infrastructure of the National Ministry of Health, Ayanda Dakela, was appointed to lead the project.

“My role is to make sure this facility is fully functional within a short period of time,” he said.

Dakela said an assessment of the facility has been conducted in the past two weeks to identify areas where the fire has caused extensive damage.

He said the first phase of the project will be completed by the end of February this year and the accident and emergency portion will be handed over to clinicians for services to resume.

Dakela said they had developed a project plan, which includes things that can be done immediately to repair the hospital, such as building temporary parking spaces while constructions of the building are underway.

“We are in a space that is regulated by the Working Conditions Act, we wanted to make sure we identify those areas so that we abide by them. We have also identified areas where they are linked to infrastructure problems,” he said.

Last year, Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed that about 2,000 outpatients per day could not be treated at the hospital after it was damaged by the fire, while other hospitals were dealing with additional patients being referred to them.

Only 489 beds in the 1,000-bed hospital were in use.

Mokgethi revealed this in a written response to questions from DA spokesman for provincial health, Jack Bloom, in the Gauteng legislature.

At the time, the MEC could not give a fixed date for the opening of all departments, as it depended on the work of the infrastructure development department.

Additional reporting by Ina Opperman

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