Gauteng Infrastructure Dept a ravenous leech on taxpayers – Alan Fuchs

DA MPL says poor performance is covered up, wastage and inefficiency are accepted as the norm

The Gauteng Infrastructure Department is a ravenous leech on the taxpayer

17 March 2021

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned about the current status of infrastructure projects that have been managed by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) on behalf of the Gauteng Department of Health.   

Based on the presentation to the Health Portfolio committee by the Department of Health on the number of projects that have either not been completed, or not completed within time and budget, it was concluded that infrastructure development is beset by wastage and inefficiency. 

The difficulties experienced by the DID are well known and primarily stem from a lack of skills and expertise. This is not unique to Gauteng, as the same dynamic exists in the public sector at all levels of government. 

What is extremely disappointing is that the Health Department, which is the customer in this relationship, does not appear to have the skill or the motivation to hold the Department of Infrastructure to account for poor performance. One wonders if they would act differently if they were spending their personal money as opposed to public funds. 

Amongst the projects are those that were launched in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of these projects are still not complete and they may never see a Covid-19 patient. In response to criticism, the Health Department is now talking about repurposing these facilities to provide for non-Covid-19 medical services.

The Health Department has identified a number of issues that cause projects to fail, most of which fall under the control of the DID.

The fact of the matter is that the DID does not have a property management function that can resolve land ownership issues, does not adhere to legislated or regulated processes, plans poorly and project manages poorly.

If the DID was operating in the private sector, it would have been liquidated by now. In the public sector, however, poor performance is covered up, wastage and inefficiency are accepted as the norm and consequence management is non-existent. It is unfortunately the taxpayer who bears the brunt of this never-ending black whole of wastage.

Issued byAlan Fuchs,DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management, 17 March 2021