HOSPERSA PROBES CORRUPTION AT NW HOSPITAL
10 March 2017
The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) has written an open letter to the North West Department of Health regarding alleged corrupt activities at Brits Hospital in the North West province. The Union poses a series of questions regarding broken agreements to re-deploy corrupt officials and the failure to institute the agreed-upon joint investigation into allegations tabled.
In the open letter, addressed to the Head of Department (HoD), Dr AT Lekalakala, Hospersa refers to industrial action which took place in November last year. The main reason for the protest by hospital employees at the time was alleged corrupt procurement processes by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Clinical Manager, and part of the settlement agreement was that the officials in question would be re-deployed to another institution, and that the concerns of employees would be jointly investigated by management and labour. The alleged corruption included the procurement of a CT scanner of R15 million that was never delivered to the hospital.
However, the Union has since received reports that the embattled officials have been brazenly returned to Brits Hospital, and that the concerns of employees have not been addressed as per the earlier agreement. In the letter Hospersa registers its “disappointment with the contempt shown by the department to our members, other employees and the community which is served by the hospital”.
Hospersa also cites reports that the CEO “has resumed her prior tendencies of acting in a high-handed and intimidatory manner towards staff”, while the “concerns and questions raised by labour at the time remain unanswered and unaddressed”.
“It is almost unbelievable that these guys would be so openly arrogant,” said Hospersa North West Provincial Chairperson Nhlanhla Mthize. “To come and sit with us and agree to address the problems, and then go back on your word?” he asked. “How can you agree to move corrupt bosses away from the hospital and then bring them back a few months later? We thought we had a solid agreement – a good faith agreement – that our issues will be addressed, but now they show their true colours,” Mthize said.
Hospersa’s letter clearly states that this course of events seems to point to the November agreement being a devious and strategic tactic by the Department of Health to temporarily diffuse the situation and buy time. The Union then poses some direct questions relating to the decision-making behind moving the embattled officials back to Brits Hospital, as well as the apparent absence of the agreed-upon joint investigation into alleged irregularities.
“At Hospersa’s National Congress in 2013 we made firm resolutions about the poor management and corruption that we see in our public institutions,” said Mthize. “We cannot stand this anymore and we as employees will have to blow the whistle and get rid of these rotten apples. It is time to stop stealing the money that is supposed to go to our citizens. Hospersa will not rest until this matter is fully investigated and put to bed,” Mthize concluded.
The open letter concludes by requesting the HoD to respond to the questions posed by Hospersa in order to avoid a repeat of the protest action seen in November 2016.
For interviews please contact Hospersa North West Provincial Chairperson Nhlanhla Mthize on 083-845-1177
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