SEVEN senior managers at five Eastern Cape hospitals were removed from their posts this week and face possible suspension for alleged maladministration and dereliction of duty.
This follows unannounced visits to scores of Eastern Cape hospitals by Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana in the past two weeks.
Two provincial health officials, one a district manager in the Amathole region and one a sub-district manager, have also had to vacate their posts.
“If managers don’t do their jobs they will be removed and young blood will come to render those services,” warned provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo yesterday.
Since taking office last year, the MEC has vowed that the province’s embattled health system would not collapse on his watch.
The nine senior officials have been placed in other posts, where they can be closely monitored and face disciplinary hearings in the near future.
The hospitals inspected in the province where managers were removed include Cathcart, Butterworth, Bhisho, Victoria and Tafalofefe.
Cathcart Hospital’s manager and nursing manager were removed, as were Butterworth’s hospital manager and clinical manager.
“All of these hospitals were characterised by poor management and patient care had been severely compromised,” Kupelo said.
In one of the hospitals, the MEC described the institution’s management as “non-existent”.
“The manager (at another hospital) did not spend a single cent of his budget for the year. All the taps leaked and the toilets didn’t work,” Kupelo said.
Gqobana has admitted previously that the primary goal of providing quality healthcare in the Eastern Cape had been long forgotten by the department.
Almost 800 employees from the department have been fired on various charges in the last two years and the MEC has repeatedly warned managers to “shape up or ship out”. Kupelo also revealed that the department was instigating disciplinary action against 66 employees in Bhisho for watching porn and playing cards all day on work computers.
“Service providers are wondering where all the supplies have gone and why the drugs have not been delivered,” Kupelo said. “Instead these officials come and spend eight hours a day looking at pornographic material.”
DA health spokesman and MPL John Cupido yesterday applauded the MEC’s efforts. “We acknowledge that the MEC is doing his best and is trying to eradicate the department’s problems,” he said.
Cupido agreed the managers must be closely monitored and said those found guilty of negligence should be fired.
COPE MPL Mbulelo Ntenjwa could not be reached for comment. — michaelk@dispatch.