Msukaligwa CHC project fizzles out

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GK CRONJE

19 July 2022

Nearly five years later, and the construction site now has transformed into another white elephant.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

During the 2018 IDP meeting at the Ella de Bruin Hall, a state of the art 24-hour community health centre (CHC) was in the construction phase at Ward 16, Extension 32. Upon enquiry, little information had been provided by Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM) and other involved authorities regarding the services that would be offered by this project. The project would have benefitted approximately many households, who have to travel extensively to reach medical facilities. Rajen Naidoo from the Department of Health, Corporate Services stated that phase one, which involved the construction of concrete palisade fencing, which had been completed. According to Naidoo, phase two would involve the construction of a new Community Health Centre and accommodation units, which would have cost a total of R35 million. According to information available at that time, the project would have been constructed by the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport (DPWRT), on behalf of the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Health. Alas, the fiery enthusiasm shown by involved entities has fizzled in fantastic fashion.

Nearly five years later, and the construction site now has transformed into another white elephant. Enquiries to the DPWRT have yielded no results, instead the Tribune was referred to the Department of Human Settlements (DOHS) for enquiries. However, the DOHS has responded, stating that in line with the Department’s broadened mandate, the construction of clinics do not form part of its competence. The Department further confirmed that there are currently no running human settlements projects in the area, except efforts to resolve sewer spillages. The Tribune directed an enquiry to MLM regarding the construction, which is supposed to see a completion date of March 2024, a span of 21 months. The municipality, in turn, could not provide any information regarding the project. According to the tender and leads portal B2B, the Msukaligwa Community Health Centre (CHC) is marked as awarded, but for an amount of R98 million. Furthermore, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) states that the procurement of a contractor for the CHC project entails an amount of R48 745 314. The tender, RFP042/2021, was last updated in February 2022. Another tender by DBSA, RFP244/2019, was for a social facilitator service provider. The bid for this tender closed in January 2020, and the outcome of the tender is unknown.

With several awarded tenders amounting to millions of Rands, the site now lays dormant, with no government department seemingly knowing what the state of affairs are, nor who is responsible for the project. No department, nor MLM, could provide clarity if the project is currently ongoing, or if it has been scrapped or delayed.