The Standing Joint Defense Committee calls for accountability on the renovation program of the 1 military hospital

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The Standing Joint Committee on Defense finds it totally unacceptable that the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs has shown utter disregard and reluctance to account for the hospital’s never-ending repair and maintenance program Military 1 of Tshwane.

The committee has scheduled a meeting with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure, for an update and accountability on the repair program. Following a meeting that took place on September 2, 2021, the committee requested information from both departments on the hospital’s forensic audit report and the associated consequence management.

“We are concerned that the Defense Ministry has not informed the committee of the forensic report that it has been sitting there for about a year, citing that it has not yet been processed by internal structures due to its sensitive nature, “said Cyril Xaba, the chairman of the committee.

The committee’s concerns are based on the Defense Ministry’s refusal to share with the committee the findings of a forensic investigation into the case. In addition, the ministry was unwilling to take action against senior officials identified as having acted illegally in connection with the project.

Despite this, the committee welcomed the willingness of the Department of Public Works to be held accountable. It also welcomes its launch of consequence management, which is a necessary measure to conserve taxpayer resources.

The committee remains of the view that the project is an absolute disaster, with the state continuing to spend millions on private health care due to delays in completing the repair project.

The committee’s concerns revolve around escalating costs on the one hand, and the construction and cost of medical outsourcing on the other. The cost incurred for the outsourced medical services is projected from 2010/11 to 2019/20 at around 1.086 billion Rand, which is unacceptable. Additionally, due to outsourcing, the service continues to lose site expertise.

The project will remain a major focus of the committee and it intends to hold the Defense Ministry to account in the near future.

Regarding the long term solution for the border fence, the committee supports a collaborative approach to solve the porous border fence. The committee also stresses the need for an integrated border, patrol routes and ICT solutions to resolve border issues. He called on both departments to finalize development specifications aligned with best practice boundary solutions. The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs must approve specifications aligned with its security mandate.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: Parliament.

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