The Kempton Park Hospital
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Kempton Park

"Decay is the disease"
For 12 years the Khayalami Hospital in Kempton Park on Johannesburg's East Rand has been abandoned. Follow the M&G team through the desolate building, which includes a R10-million inventory of equipment. To watch the slide show, please click





Tender process involving derelict hospital questioned
DA slams suspicious, cosy deal with two companies

A GAUTENG hospital that was closed for 10 years at a cost of millions in security and maintenance will be refurbished and reopened - but is already running into contract problems.

Now it has emerged that the provincial government was negotiating with a consortium to reopen the old Kyalami Hospital in Kempton Park - apparently without going through an open tender process.

"I am disturbed that this has not gone out to open tender," said DA MPL Jack Bloom.

"It looks like a cosy deal with two companies that get a suspicious number of contracts with the Gauteng provincial government."

Yesterday, a Department of Infrastructure Development official said she could not remember any tender for the new hospital consortium. Another senior government official also said he was not aware of such a tender being advertised.

Just last month, in her State of the Province speech, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane promised that the Kyalami Hospital in Kempton Park would be reopened.

She also promised that different contractors would be awarded tenders in the province and that more small black businesses would be given their share of the pie.

The hospital has been surrounded by controversy since it was closed.

In December 1996 the Gauteng Department of Health said no new patients would be admitted due to an acute staff shortage but denied it was closing the hospital. It was shut in 1997.

In 2006 the province's auditor-general said the empty hospital's security and maintenance costs over five years were about R6.4 million.

Now the online networking site Facebook has numerous groups dedicated to the hospital. One of them, Kempton Park Hospital - A Haunting Story, has more than 6 000 members.

People, mainly teenagers, have sneaked into the closed hospital to go ghost hunting. Eerie pictures are posted on the website of a hospital where equipment was just left behind. There are also rumours that it is a radioactive site.

Many people have expressed anger that the buildings and equipment have gone to waste when the community needs a hospital.

It was revealed in the Gauteng Legislature last week that there would be delays in reopening the hospital because of problems during the negotiation of the tender.

"The building is still vacant," Infrastructure Development MEC Faith Mazibuko told Bloom in response to a question.

"The lease agreement that the department intended to enter into with the Kempton Park Hospital Consortium (KPHC), comprising Tau Pride (Pty) Ltd and Tebfin (Pty), is still being reviewed, to ensure full compliance with appropriate regulations governing such relationships."

She said the parties could not agree on terms, so no memorandum of understanding was signed last year.

"KPHC has, on occasion, needed to consult with its strategic partners in order to ensure that their continued involvement is in line with what its partners envisage," Mazibuko added.

She said the consortium also needed a licence to operate a health-care facility.

The MEC said the hospital would have to be refurbished and revitalised before it could be reopened, and timelines for this would be provided once the agreement was signed and plans approved.

Bloom said he had been told last year that the memorandum of agreement had already been signed, and that it was unlikely the hospital would be reopened this year "because of bungled negotiations with a politically connected consortium".

He said the empty hospital cost R1m every year for security, maintenance and rates.

"It is a prime example of wasteful mismanagement when there is a desperate need for a functioning hospital in this area," said Bloom.

Tebfin is owned by Tebogo Mogashoa, who has numerous tenders with the government through various consortiums.

Mogashoa was recently seen at the side of President Jacob Zuma and Mokonyane at the opening of the R120m Pan Africa shopping mall in Alexandra.

By Angelique Serrao and Louise Flanagan The Star 03/07/09

New life for old hospital
Mail & Guardian Online, August 23, 2009

After 12 years the Gauteng government has finally decided to reopen the abandoned hospital in Kempton Park.

It was reported this week that the health department plans to relaunch the Khayalami Hospital as South Africa's first "Folateng-model" hospital -- a private institution run by the state.

In its new form the hospital will have about 270 beds and will be primarily for patients on medical aid schemes.

The health department plans to complete an in-house feasibility study by the end of this year, aiming to include the hospital in its budget for 2010-11.

According to DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom, Gauteng health minister Qedani Mahlangu has pledged to involve the local community in the reopening of the hospital and to meet the Kempton Park Hospital Forum, comprising interested parties from the area.

Riaan Olivier, a forum member, said the hospital would work only "if there is a real, strong partnership between the community and government".

"I'm happy that it's reopening, but I'll feel much better if the people with a vision for it could be part of the process and its success," said Olivier.

"A tragic landmark"
Deep in the heart of Johannesburg's East Rand suburb of Kempton Park stands the Khayalami Hospital, empty and unused for 12 years, costing the taxpayer R700 000 a year to safeguard.

The building has become a graveyard for medical equipment, with at least R10-million's worth of functioning equipment left to die when the hospital closed its doors in 1997, after operating for just over two decades. Gauteng has spent at least R8-million since 1997 on security guards to protect the deserted building.

But in 2006 the Gauteng provincial government had a change of heart and put out a tender for the creation of a "self-sustainable medical centre that would be a private hospital and also treat a certain percentage of low-income patients".

Three years on, the suspended head of the provincial transport and public works department, Sibusiso Buthelezi, is accusing his former political head, Ignatius Jacobs, of delaying the refurbishment of the hospital by meddling in the tender process.

Buthelezi's accusations are contained in a forensic report to Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on allegations of wrongdoing made by Jacobs and Buthelezi against each other.

Lawyers Peter Harris and Michelle Moonsammy of the Resolve Group of consultants handed their report to Mokonyane at the beginning of the month. She subsequently suspended Buthelezi and is still awaiting a final report on outstanding matters, including the Khayalami Hospital issue.

Buthelezi alleges that Jacobs is refusing to sign a 25-year lease with the winning consortium, consisting of local firms Tau Pride, Tebfin, KOPM Logistics and Netcare. Tau Pride and Tebfin would have facilitated the construction and refurbishment whereas Netcare and KOPM would have been responsible for operations.

Buthelezi alleges that Jacobs called him six months after the tender was awarded and asked him to persuade the winning bidder to "accommodate" a Chinese consortium.

Jacobs admits this, but says there was nothing irregular in his conduct and his actions were "based on the fact that the contractor who was awarded the tender was experiencing difficulty in delivering the contract".

Only Jacobs had the power to sign off a leasing contract of more than 15 years and Buthelezi alleges the minister agreed to authorise a 99-year lease if the Chinese consortium was included. "[The parties] never finalised the contract," Buthelezi told Harris and Moonsammy.

Jacobs's response to this allegation was submitted to the Resolve Group only after the first report was given to Mokonyane. The investigators are expected to report back to Mokonyane in due course.

The province's infrastructure development department confirmed that it spends R700 000 annually on security and referred the Mail & Guardian's other questions to the health department, which had not responded by the time of going to print.

Hospital of ghosts
Judging from the empty beer bottles and pizza boxes strewn across the desolate wards, Khayalami Hospital has become a haunt for naughty schoolboys and after-hours revellers.

Throughout the building are the giant metal skeletons of about 800 beds, stacked on top of one another. "You can fit at least 400 beds in here," says local resident Riaan Olivier, who is part of a local community forum lobbying for the reopening of the facility. "There are bakkies that come here every so often," says Olivier, "and just bring beds. It's like the government is using it for storage."

According to a medical equipment firm, the abandoned beds are worth at least R1,6-million and would sell for about R2 000 each. In the dispensary long counters are covered in prescriptions and patient cards, confidential patient files and a hospital telephone list, dated 1995. "This hospital used to see patients from Kempton Park, Benoni, Edenvale and Tembisa," says Olivier.

But apparently not enough of them. Johannesburg's mayor and health MEC at the time, Amos Masondo, closed the hospital because of its "limited utilisation" and "inappropriate location".

But these reasons aren't valid any more, says Luckyboy Mkhondwana of the Treatment Action Campaign, who argues that another hospital is urgently needed in the area. "We get complaints all the time that Tembisa has no space and people have to wait outside in the rain."

Democratic Alliance spokesperson for health Jack Bloom says there is a "desperate need for a functioning hospital in this area". Dr Norman Kernes, chief executive of Edenvale Hospital, agrees, saying his hospital has "a heavy load".

Nine theatres are fitted with large operating lights hanging from the ceiling like stalactites, complete with a few bloody gloves lying crumpled on one counter. The operating lights -- each costs about R15 000 new -- can be serviced and used elsewhere, says a medical technician.

A few doors down is an X-ray room and in the centre an X-ray machine and wooden bed. In another room there is a CAT scanner that lights up and begins to buzz when it is switched on.

The waiting list for a CAT scan at Gauteng's public hospitals is usually three to four days if you are in hospital "and a few weeks if you are out of hospital", says a Gauteng doctor.

Dr Thomas Bredenkamp, chief medical officer at the Shongwe Hospital in Mpumalanga, says: "A CAT scanner just standing around is a shitload of money."

Outside, in the middle of the white passage, stands an ultrasound machine with "Hillbrow Clinic" written on the back in black marker.

The X-ray machine cost about R2-million, the CAT scanner R5-million and the ultrasound machine R500 000, but with a life span of about 10 years this equipment is now obsolete.

"When the hospital closed down all the equipment was still in perfect working condition," says Dr Hennie Roelofse, a paediatrician who worked at Khayalami Hospital for 16 years.

A few floors down, in the basement, stand about 40 incubators. Dr Marinus van der Westhuizen of the Rahima Moosa Hospital says his facility has a dire lack of equipment and had to buy new incubators last year. "Last year there were babies in Gauteng being kept in cardboard boxes," he says.

The incubators together are worth about R320 000 and can be serviced and used again.

Next to the main building is a residence with space for up to 400 doctors and nurses. Olivier, who with his wife, wants to turn it into a night shelter and centre for abused women and children, points at the service gate as we walk out.

"They've painted it silver," he says. "It looks nice, but that's about the only thing they've done around here."

Source: Mail & Guardian Online

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