Gauteng health department denies it paid too much for Covid-19 Nasrec beds

Pretoria – The Gauteng health department (GDoH) has disputed widespread claims that it has been ripped off after it paid R13 000 each for beds at the Nasrec field hospital in Johannesburg for coronavirus (Covid-19) patients.

“Contrary to the statement by the Democratic Alliance (DA), which is based on the deliberate misinterpretation of a presentation made to the health portfolio committee on 28 July 2020, the department has not spent R13 000 for each bed as displayed by the DA in social media platforms,” Gauteng health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said in a statement.

The department had entered into a service level agreement with the Johannesburg Expo Centre (Nasrec) through the Gauteng infrastructure and property management department (GDID) for “full on-boarding services”, she said.

“Beds in the quarantine/isolation section of Nasrec were not bought by GDoH, but form part of this service level agreement. The picture used in relation to the statement by the DA is misleading. The picture is of a basic quarantine or isolation bed,” said Kekana.

The presentation made to the committee in the Gauteng legislature gave an estimate of costs for a funding proposal to the Solidarity Fund.

“It is not money spent, but a proposal for a high-low functional hospital bed. The technical specifications for the high-low bed referred to is that it must, among others, be hydraulically operated, have variable height, be operated by dual sided foot pedals, have adjustable backrest with gas spring assist.

“The pictures shared by the DA are not high-low functional hospital beds and do not even come close to some of the specifications indicated above. This is despite the fact that the presentation shared with the health portfolio committee and the public clearly indicates hospital beds, high low, with mattress and drip rods,” Kekana said.

Last week, The DA’s Jack Bloom said the department spent R13,000 for each bed in the Nasrec field hospital, but could easily have bought them for less than half the price from other suppliers.

“According to a presentation to the Gauteng legislature’s health committee, 1000 beds with mattresses were bought for R13 million, with each bed costing R13 000. I have established that a fair price for this type of bed, together with a mattress, is about R5000,” said Bloom.

“This highlights yet again how the department is being ripped off by a poor and possibly corrupt choice of supplier, probably a middleman with an outrageous markup. The total cost of equipment for the Nasrec field hospital is R24.1 million, which is also likely to be about double what it should have cost. It includes, for instance, R18 000 spent on 40 wall clocks for R450 each,” he said.

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife Loyiso took leave of absence last month after being linked to a controversial R125 million personal protective equipment (PPE) scandal. ​Loyiso is the City of Johannesburg MMC for group corporate and shared services.

Their leave of absence comes after the health department awarded controversial traditional leader inkosi Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, a tender to provide PPE to the province.

African News Agency (ANA)

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