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DBSA inherits costly 1 Mil refurb headache

The refurbishment of one floor 1 Military Hospital into a Covid-19 ward with beds for 50 patients and an intensive care unit was completed in 2020 within six weeks, at a cost of R151-million of which R11-million was the agent’s fee.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) was appointed in 2019 as the implementing agent to accelerate infrastructure projects for the defence department. 

Sources in the defence department said the department still owes fees to consultants and contractors, and that matters might escalate into civil action should these not be settled by the end of August. 

But the Mail & Guardian investigation shows that some of the contractors were appointed by the public works department. 

Tectura Architects was appointed between 2011 and 2013 as the principal agent to refurbish and upgrade the first floor of 1  Military Hospital and related services, and build a pharmacy and histology laboratory on the second floor. Tectura Architects received about R45-million over the years as the scope of work increased as the hospital deteriorated further.

In March, a source close to the project was hopeful that the DBSA “will now give funds” to carry on with the work. This was confirmed by another source who has seen a letter stating that the principal agent’s appointment will be ceded to the DBSA. But in March, the DBSA’s Sebolelo Matsoso denied any knowledge of Tectura Architects. “Tectura Architects is not on the DBSA system and has never done any work for them.” The DBSA’s Desiree Mojanaga also confirmed that “none of the contractors of DPW [department of public works] was absorbed into [the] DBSA”.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

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