Pine Pienaar
DA provincial spokesperson on health, Pine Pienaar.

A well known Free State aeroplane operator has been implicated in an investigation into fraud of some R10 million in the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

Eight senior officials from the department have been suspended thanks to a number of legislature questions to the MEC for Health by the DA’s Pine Pienaar during the past months. Another official, Shanks Maharaj, director of emergency services in the department, has also been implicated after it came to light that officials had used an air ambulance to fly to a soccer match between Spain and America in Bloemfontein in June last year.

Replying to the last set of oral questions two weeks ago, the Bhisho Legislature was informed that

in executing its responsibility in the fixed air ambulance contract, the company National Airways Corporation had subleased an aeroplane from the Free State-based Flying Ambulance (Pty) Ltd, where Mr. Crause Steyl is a director. The question stated that the department hoped to “recover monies which were incorrectly billed by whoever rendered services” and that the ongoing investigation was expected to implicate more department employees.

The findings by the department on the matter were also handed over to the police.

Following stories in the media about the issue, sms-feedback was published in the March 10 edition of Die Burger’s ‘Wat sê jy’ column:

“Thank you Pine Pienaar, that you are exposing fraud and putting our province right. We need more of your type!” Lodewyk Birk, Uitenhage.

(translated from Afrikaans)