Hospital guards pushed out in protests against irregular security contracts

Jack Bloom.

Guards were pushed out of several Gauteng hospitals yesterday, 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, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Sterkfontein and Carletonville hospitals.

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According to a statement released by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, the WRSF is 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.

“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.

According to a written reply to my questions by Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa 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 expired. Is this because they are funnelling money to the ANC?”

He further states that the Department’s security costs have more than doubled in the last four years and I suspect we are getting poor value for money.

“The WRSF says that protest action will extend to other regions in Gauteng as well. MEC Ramokgopa should expedite the new security contracts rather than extending the irregular over-priced contracts.”

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Janine Viljoen

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