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Scopa slams slow hospital construction

Scopa wants to know why it took government more than nine years to construct a Soweto hospital.

Patients queuing outside a hospital pharmacy

JOHANNESBURG - The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Thursday demanded to know why it took the Gauteng Health and Public Works Departments over nine years to build a hospital in Soweto.

The Zola Hospital has been under construction since 2003 and was meant to be completed in just two years.

Earlier on Thursday, Scopa visited the hospital and expressed serious concern over the project.

Government initially budgeted just over R300 million for construction of the state of the art hospital, but the budget has since ballooned to more than R800 million.

At least two contractors were fired for failing to deliver and a third company has taken charge of project.

Scopa also demanded answers from the Public Works Department as to why it hired a company that was later found to have no tax documents.

Committee chairperson Themba Godi also revealed that the same company had failed to build a hospital in the Eastern Cape.

He alleged that the company may have been given the tender because its directors had political connections.