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Joint Standing Committee on Defence calls for accountability on 1 Military Hospital refurbishment programme

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It also welcomes the initiation of consequence management, which is a necessary measure to safeguard taxpayer resources.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, December 3, 2021 / APO Group / –

The Joint Standing Committee on Defense finds it completely unacceptable that the Department of Defense and Military Veterans has shown total indifference and unwillingness to account for the endless repair and maintenance program of Military Hospital 1 in Tshwane.

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

“We are concerned that the department of defense has not informed the committee about the forensic report that they have been meeting in it for about a year, citing that it has not yet been examined in internal structures due to its sensitive nature,” said Mr. Cyril Xaba, chair of the committee.

The committee’s concerns are based on the defense department’s unwillingness to share the findings of a forensic investigation into the matter with the committee. Furthermore, the department has been unwilling to take action against senior staff members identified as having acted illegally in connection with the project.

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

The committee continues to view the project as an absolute disaster, and the state continues to spend millions on private healthcare due to delays in completing the repair project.

The committee’s concerns center on escalating costs, on the one hand, and construction and the cost of medical outsourcing, on the other. The cost incurred for outsourced medical services from 2010/11 to 2019/20 is projected to be approximately R1.086 billion, which is unacceptable. Additionally, due to outsourcing, the department continues to lose on-premises experience.

The project will continue to be an important point of focus for the committee and it is the intention to hold the defense department accountable in the near future.

Regarding the long-term solution for the border fence, the committee supports a collaborative approach to resolving the porous border fence. The committee also reemphasizes the need for an integrated border, patrol roads, and ICT solutions to solve challenges at the border. He called on both departments to finalize development specifications aligned with best practices in border solutions. The Department of Defense and Military Veterans must approve specifications aligned with its security mandate.

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