THE Eastern Cape department of health is investigating widespread allegations that human resources (HR) practitioners at two East London State hospitals are selling jobs.
Already a senior HR official at Frere Hospital is facing disciplinary action for allegedly soliciting bribes from job seekers at the institution.
However, 31 further complaints were lodged with the department last month, claiming that unsuspecting job seekers at Frere and Cecilia Makiwane hospitals had been asked to pay bribes.
It is alleged that the Frere official had forced some applicants to fork out between R1 500 and R3 000 to secure positions at the hospital and had even approached unqualified people to apply for advertised posts.
The official would then add the applicants’ name to the jobs master list or falsify their CVS to match the requirements for the advertised posts.
Health department director of communications Siyanda Manana said yesterday the probe into the remaining 31 cases was at an advanced stage.
But he said it was difficult to comment on the methodology of the scam involving the cases because it might jeopardise the outcome of the investigation.
“It is at a sensitive stage right now, but we also want to warn health department officials to not accept cash for jobs as it is illegal and will lead to prosecution,” he said.
“The people paying the bribes are vulnerable and unsuspecting, because the officials they are giving the money to do not have the authority to make the appointments they are promising.”
Manana said the department believed the official suspended from Frere Hospital was operating within a larger syndicate.
“We call on people with information, or who have paid a bribe, to submit this information or even supply evidence at the hospital,” he said.
Almost 800 employees from the health department have been fired or suspended over a litany of charges during the last 22 months.
A further 500 contracts were not renewed during the same period, of which 68 cases are currently on appeal.
The large-scale clean-up includes ending the employment of the head of clinical services, the department’s chief financial officer, the deputy director-general of HR and the head of emergency medical services.
“I would like to reiterate what the MEC [Sicelo Gqobana] said about the honeymoon now being over … the department will not stand for corruption or fraud,” Manana warned.
DA health spokesman and MPL John Cupido said yesterday: “If people are willing to take a bribe for a job, then they might even pay someone to lose their file during the disciplinary process.”
The Dispatch reported last week that at least 20 health officials found guilty of various offences were still on the department’s payroll after their files were “stolen”. — firstname.lastname@example.org