HEALTH FIRES 42 FOR THEFT, HARASSMENT: DAILY DISPATCH

THE province’s Health Department yesterday fired 42 officials.

A number of hospital managers, doctors, middle managers and a pharmacist were found guilty by internal disciplinary processes, spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.

“The allegations ranged from theft, fraud and corruption to sexual harassment and rape.”

A doctor was fired for an alleged attempt at raping a patient and his colleague for allegedly attempting to shut her up with a R5 000 bribe, Kupelo said.

“These people have brought the department into disrepute. We have a number other hearings continuing,” he added.

Other officials were being probed for allegedly using State ambulances for unauthorised purposes.

An amount of R36 million worth of financial irregularities were being probed.

In addition, it had been established that over 100 companies trading with the department belonged to health officials.

These companies had been paid R6.7m between April and December last year. Investigations into whether these tenders were legally awarded were under way.

Health oversight committee chairperson Mxolisi Dimaza welcomed the sackings, saying it was about time people who had wronged the department were permanently removed.

“The department has a number of weaknesses, especially around management because of people who are not concerned about service delivery. That is what leads to the collapse of services.

“We applaud it when these people are removed from the system, as long as the department has made all the neccessary investigations.”

DA oversight committee member John Cupido called the announcement a “step in the right direction”.

“It shows that under the new MEC (Sicelo Gqobana) the department is trying to clean up its act.

“It’s indicative of the hard work done by this MEC, who is known for being hands-on. We’re now calling for criminal charges to be pressed against people in cases that warrant it, and for any misappropriated money to be recovered.” — Additional reporting by Sapa