Defence committees not finished with 1 Military Hospital

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The SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) flagship – 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane – is in a sorry state notwithstanding a stop-start repair and maintenance programme (RAMP) now over 10 years in process.

It was again flagged, this time in a Parliament Announcements, Tablings and Committee document dated 25 March. The report follows an oversight visit to a number of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) bases, facilities and installations by both Parliament’s defence oversight committees. The November visit was an agenda item at subsequent meetings of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) and the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD).

ANC KwaZulu-Natal parliamentarian Cyril Xaba, who chairs both committees today (Tuesday, 30 March) told the Newzroom Afrika TV channel the “sorry state” of 1 Military Hospital was “concerning”. He is expecting further reports from SAMHS, the Logistics Division of the SANDF and Minister Patricia de Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DWPI). These, he said during a live interview, will assist in “getting to the bottom of problems” and “hopefully, identify any wrongdoing”.

One  concern raised by committee members was the underspend by DWPI on servicing the Department of Defence (DoD). Forty-one percent of funds allocated for repair and maintenance by DWPI or its appointed contractors has been utilised over the past five years, the committees heard, despite attempts by the DoD to manage the services rendered by DPWI, “but continues without any apparent consequence management or punitive measures” the Parliamentary document states.



Another point of concern is will the allocation of a billion Rand from the defence budget (over a period of time) be sufficient to bring the facility back to full operational status. Currently the absence of a new pharmacy, radiology section and emergency theatres “compound the dire situation at the hospital”.