The exact reasons why the completed multimillion rand hospital in Trompsburg is now a white elephant lit up like a Christmas tree every night, remain a mystery. Hopes were crushed last week after questions regarding the hospital and why it has not been opened officially (although the project was handed over to to the Free State Health department months ago), were left unanswered. This follows after a National Council of Provinces delegation that visited the province on its national provincial week programme had a site visit to the hospital on its to-do list.
Although a joined sitting with NCOP members and members of the Free State Legislature did take place in Trompsburg, the visit to the hospital – located right next to the municipal offices where the sitting took place – was cancelled at the last minute.
The NCOP delegation indicated that since Free State Health MEC Benny Malakoane was not in attendance to accompany the members on the visit and answer questions, the visit could not take place.
This infuriated the DA in the legislature. MPL Mariette Pittaway said she had attended the sitting to get answers on questions about the hospital. She said questions on the increased budget – approximately a R100 million – the problems with the water pressure at the hospital, its sewerage system and allegations that tax payers’ money is being used to move the entrance of a private hotel opposite the hospital at government cost (because of bad planning), had to be answered.
NCOP member Phello Parkies defended the cancellation of the oversight visit to the hospital, saying the attendance or absence of Malakoane does not legitimise the delegation’s week-long visit. He said everything observed by the delegation will be captured in its report to be tabled in parliament soon. Parkies also said that MECs did not answer questions raised in the joint sitting on Friday in writing or by presentations as discussed at this sitting earlier. – Cathy Dlodlo