Durban - The ANC has defended cadre appointments, saying that if it were done the right way, a person with the “technical knowledge and skills” would be appointed, a case in point being the post of the KwaZulu-Natal health head of department.
The premier’s office is shortlisting candidates for what is one of the province’s most senior civil service positions.
Earlier this week, commenting on the KZN-Cuban medical student exchange programme, SA Medical Association chairman Dr Mzukisi Grootboom said cadre deployment was chasing doctors away from the public sector.
He said that because some health institutions were run by people with no medical background, there was lack of mentoring for the new doctors.
Grootboom hoped the premier’s office would appoint someone with a background and experience in the medical field to head the department.
“Look, (the) government has appointed doctors in that position in the past. I hope that they follow that trend,” he said.
The ANC has come under fire for its stated policy of deploying cadres to all the branches of public service.
But the party’s (and national) deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the policy, telling the Daily News there was nothing wrong with the party deploying its members to key positions as that is an international practice.
Sihle Zikalala, ANC provincial spokesman, also said there was nothing wrong with cadre deployment as long as it was done in the right way.
“The ANC has never deployed unskilled people to strategic positions. We make sure that our deployed cadres have the technical knowledge and skills for the positions and that they are well versed in the party policies,” said Zikalala.
Sibonelo Cele, chairman of the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa, said candidates for strategic positions should have a “bit of both”.
“We would expect a candidate to have medical background and political inclination,” he said.
Premier Senzo Mchunu’s spokesman Ndabezinhle Sibiya said: “The executive cannot get involved in the (recruitment and selection) process which is still under way.”
The Daily News has reliably learnt that the outgoing head, Dr Sibongile Zungu, has applied for the position. In a previous interview with the Daily News, Zungu had said she was yet to decide whether to apply.
When contacted for comment this week, she confirmed that she had applied.
The Daily News reported that when Zungu took charge of the department five years ago, it was R2.3 billion in the red and she had to put structures in place to change the situation.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union warned of protest action if Zungu’s contract was renewed. It also wrote to Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, demanding that Zungu be investigated, claiming maladministration, corruption and wasteful expenditure.