by Dr Isak Fritz MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Social Development
Date: 08 March 2017
The DA has called on the legislature portfolio committee to facilitate monthly oversight visits to the construction site of the
substance abuse treatment centre in Kimberley. This is in a bid to prevent the project from becoming another “mental hospital”,
which remains incomplete after 11-years and R2 billion.
The Northern Cape Social Development Department revealed last week, during a portfolio committee meeting, that the centre is
due to be completed by October this year.
The DA welcomes the fact that the due date is so soon, as there is an urgent need for inpatient services for those afflicted by
addiction in the Northern Cape. We nonetheless remain doubtful as to whether the due date will be met given government’s
poor track record in managing construction projects. After all, the project was fast-tracked by the Northern Cape Roads and
Public Works Department for the past three years, and look where that got them.
The substance abuse treatment centre got off to a shaky start when the projected costs for the facility were more than double
the initial budget of R40 million that was allocated to the project by the national department.
The construction process was also significantly delayed because of legal disputes relating to the awarding of the tender. As a
result, the Department of Social Development last year lost R6 million worth of unspent funds intended for the centre, to the
Free State. With the 2016/2017 financial year drawing to a close, the department again risks losing unspent funds totalling R19
million, intended for the construction of the treatment centre.
With three years already having past since the conceptualization of this project, it is starting to look like another mental hospital
saga in the making.
For the sake of the people of this province, all the stops now need to be pulled out to ensure that government adheres to its
deadline. That is why I have today written to portfolio committee chairperson, Dr Thapelo Dithebe, requesting that we
commence monthly oversight visits to the facility. However, with or without the support of the portfolio committee, the DA will
prioritise oversight of the project from now until its completion.
We will not tolerate another situation whereby people must wait for more than a decade to receive appropriate care – service
delivery delayed is service delivery denied.
Dr Isak Fritz MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Social Development
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387