Ismail Obaray (ID MPL)
Spokesperson on the Legislature & SCOPA
I have requested the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature’s Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Public Accounts (SCOPA), Alexandra Beukes, to convene a special follow-up meeting to further look into the issues surrounding the budget and cost escalation, and completion date of the controversial Kimberley Mental Health Hospital.
This comes after a joint oversight visit by the national and provincial SCOPA to the mental hospital construction site, and a subsequent committee meeting with all stakeholders involved in the long overdue project.
The meeting was attended by the national and provincial SCOPA, along with the MEC of Health, Mxolisa Sokatsha, and the MEC of Roads & Public Works, Dawid Rooi, along with their respective Heads of Departments, other senior government officials, and the constructions project managers.
It is encouraging that since the last oversight visit on the construction site, there has been progress, and the contractors have not only done remedial work on the site, but also commenced with actual new construction.
Three serious concerns remain with the project to date;
1. There is confusion around the completion date of the project,
with the originally cited date of March 2014 possibly being pushed up by eight months, to November 2014.
2. The Department has not been making timeous payments to the
on-site contractors since November, as two of the four payments made were late. This which has had an effect on the projects cash flow, and contractor ability to carry out work.
3. The Department has to date failed to make any serious attempts
to initiate the previously alluded to Gobodo forensic investigation that would finger the culprits responsible for the mental hospital crises.
The DA is of the view that any further delays in this ongoing saga are simply unacceptable. Both delays in bringing the culprits responsible before the law and possible delays in the actual completion date of the project can no longer be tolerated.
The residents of the Northern Cape, and more especially those suffering from various mental ailments, who currently languish in inadequate hospital facilities or in prison cells, not only deserve answers and accountability, but also deserve better.