Gloves off in fight between DA’s Bloom & ANC’s Masuku over Nasrec field hospital

The DA’s Jack Bloom has accused the government of corruption under the leadership of suspended Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku relating to the admission of patients at the Nasrec field hospital.

FILE: Bandile Masuku visits the Nasrec quarantine and isolation centre on 20 July 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Pressure is mounting for suspended Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku to step down after the DA called for an investigation amid alleged financial mismanagement at one of the largest COVID1-19 facilities in the province.

The DA’s Jack Bloom has accused the government of corruption under the leadership of Masuku relating to the admission of patients at the Nasrec field hospital.

The facility, which Bloom said cost about R350 million, was meant to accommodate at least 1,500 patients.

“According to a presentation made to the Gauteng Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature, the Nasrec field hospital was commissioned on 15 June this year and has so far admitted 604 patients for quarantine and isolation, and 96 patients for intermediate care including oxygen.

“The total bed capacity is 1,500 but there were only 25 patients as of 28 August 2020. The facility has cost about R350 million in total, which means that R500,000 has been spent on each patient,” Bloom said.

“We still need to look at whether there was value for money and whether everything was above board. I think we needed to readjust and be more realistic about was happening, so I really think they could have made a better judgement call and it still seems to me they spent too much money on a field hospital.”

Masuku has since threatened legal action against Bloom, saying he was spreading false information.

However, Bloom said he was willing to take the MEC – who is at the centre of a COVID-19 corruption storm – to task.

“I think as an additional reason for Dr Masuku to be fired by the premier and frankly for a lot of the other expenditure that we are seeing with other facilities for hospitals that also seems to be very wasteful and involve suspicious contracts and probably corruption and a lot of wastage,” said Bloom.

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