UPDATE: KDM disputes ‘hospital sabotage’

KwaDukuza municipality has denied accusations of deliberately stalling the development of the KwaDukuza Private Hospital (KPH).

Last week the North Coast Courier reported concerns from an investor, Neeran Naidoo, who accused the municipality of holding the hospital ransom by lodging minor defects and delaying granting the hospital an occupation certificate.

Also read: Fate of KwaDukuza Private Hospital in limbo

One of the defects mentioned was that the hospital was recently requested, after having fixed six other defects, to build a pavement at a school next to the facility.

Naidoo also added the delay could result in about 159 staff losing their jobs as the hospital management could not fork out millions a month in operational costs.

He said this information had been discussed at a meeting between investors and hospital management.

However, KwaDukuza municipality media liaison officer Sipho Mkhize said the accusations were false and denied knowing or dealing with Naidoo.

“The gentleman is definitely not part of RH managers or KZN Growth Fund institutions that KDM is dealing with regarding the KPH. We are aware that initially the hospital management had disagreements with the health department. However, the leaders of KPH engaged the department where even the MED’s and HOD’s of health and eco – nomic development, tourism and environmental affairs were present until the issues raised by the departments were resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved.”

Mkhize said the hospital management admitted there may be some shareholders from the doctor’s consortium who felt there was no progress on their investment and would “run to the media without facts”.

He said regarding Naidoo’s claim concerning retrenchments, the hospital management had con – sulted with staff and unions to clarify the process and feedback was communicated to staff. He did not confirm or deny the accusation.

“KwaDukuza Municipality supports this development. It is a 100 percent black-owned development, where 61 percent of the shares are owned in the KZN province, whilst 35 percent ownership is in KwaDukuza.

“The land which the hospital is built on was made available by the KwaDukuza council. The municipality will continue to implement its town planning and building control bylaws without fear or favour. We need sustainable investments and jobs for our area, but they should not compromise the safety of our communities.”

Mkhize said the issues referred back to the KDM building control section were significant and important to the municipality, general public and users of the hospital.

“Council, working closely with the project owners, have been able to ensure that all issues are addressed as per the national building regulations. One issue will be dealt with by our EXCO council on December 6. Thereafter the occupation certificate will be issued. It shall be further noted that the health department has issued a necessary licence without the occupation certificate, which makes the claims by the so-called investor ludicrous.”

However, Neeran Naidoo confirmed that he is an investor and a medical practitioner. He said he stands by his claims as he received information directly from a representative of the doctor’s con – sortium who sits on the hospital board.

“The hospital’s investors are made up of the KZN growth Fund, RH Managment and the one that KDM did not mention, the medical fraternity in Stanger which I belong to. The municipality would obviously not have dealt with me because they do not deal with all the investors individually. We have a representative who attends all board meetings and delivers feedback to us. I reported what are facts to the media with the hope that KDM will pick up the pace, not just because we are losing money but because people’s livelihoods are affected. Certain departments who are dealing with KDM cannot call them out because they have to maintain a good relationship.”

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The North Coast Courier

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UPDATE: KDM off the hook