HOSPERSA WELCOMES CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST NORTH WEST HEALTH HOD
23 February 2018
Hospersa has welcomed reports stating that the North West (NW) Provincial Legislature has laid charges against the province’s Health Head of Department (HOD) over a contract to a “Gupta-linked” company. The Union has previously highlighted corruption and maladministration in the province and questioned a similar contract which the Health HOD denied any wrong doing. The Union calls on the the Hawks to probe into other irregular contracts linked to the embattled HOD to ensure that all those found with their hands in the till are brought to book.
It is reported that earlier this week the NW Provincial Legislature held a sitting for almost two days, looking into claims that a “Gupta-linked” healthcare organisation called Mediosa was unduly awarded a R30 million three year contract by the province’s Department of Health (DoH). At the centre of the claims is the province’s Health HOD who was interrogated by the committee. During the marathon interrogation, the HOD admitted that there are service agreement documents regarding the contract yet he could not produce them to the committee.
It also emerged that the HOD and a delegation from his department took an extravagant trip to India, seven days after Mediosa received their payment. It is reported that his spouse together with a family friend and spouse joined him in India over that weekend. The committee chairperson took aim at these revelations and confirmed that the HOD was facing numerous charges, which include fraud and corruption, contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) as well being in contempt of the legislature.
“We welcome the charges that have been brought against the HOD,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines. “We have been very vocal about corruption and maladministration in the NW public health for some time now. It is encouraging that in this instance the long arm of the law has finally caught up with this corrupt official,” said Desfontaines.
The NW Province came under the spotlight in July last year when violent protests broke out when the public demanded improved service delivery. The protest action affected the delivery of health care and soon after it emerged that the provincial health department had appointed a temporary employment services agency to source candidates for positions of health professionals and hospitality staff as well as the outsourcing of ambulance services. The appointment of this service provider sparked more protests which led to the stoning and vandalising of the NW provincial office and ambulances burned. Hospersa did not endorse this action and looked for other methods of addressing this issue.
“We wrote a letter to the Minister of Health asking him to immediately direct the NW Department of Health to suspend contract NWDOH47/205 which came into effect in June 2017 and to further investigate the contract’s necessity, the fairness of the rates charged by the service provider and the source of its funding. The contract was awarded to Marang Turnkey Solutions (Pty) Ltd for the rendering of health professionals and hospitality staff in the NW Province for a period of three years as well as the outsourcing of ambulance services. We also questioned the rationale of employing temporary workers instead of filling vacant funded posts,” said Desfontaines.
“On 1 September 2017, we organised a march to put pressure on the DoH in the NW to address this outsourcing saga and handed a memorandum to the province’s HOD. We raised our concerns on the awarding of this contract, the prevailing maladministration, staff shortages as well as occupational health and safety issues in the province,” added Desfontaines.
“In his response to the memorandum, the HOD denied any wrong doing in the awarding of contract NWDOH47/205. He stated that the agency contract had been ongoing for over eight years on a quotation basis before the contract was regularized in 2015 and emphasized that there was no basis to investigate its awarding, said Desfontaines.
“We call on law enforcement agencies like the Hawks to investigate contract NWDOH47/205 and other corrupt contracts that may have been awarded by the HOD and his administration. It is high time that corruption gets rooted out from our public offices to ensure that government departments start functioning efficiently as enshrined in the Batho Pele principles,” concluded Desfontaines.
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For interviews please contact Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines – 083-321-4427.
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