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Premier steps in to fix health collapse

Johanensburg - Damning media reports - including patients eating rotten and infested food at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and others dying at Steve Biko Academic Hospital because of non-functioning machines - have prompted the government to act.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane placed her own provincial health department under administration on Monday, hoping that a technical task team will resolve the ills of all Gauteng’s health facilities.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was shocked at the conditions at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital during a surprise visit. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko. Credit: Independent Newspapers

However, the announcement does not affect the position of the MEC for Health, Hope Papo, who would still remain the department’s political boss. The administrator and technical team would report to him.

Mokonyane explained that the administration would be different to the Limpopo Health Department’s situation, as there was no national government intervention in Gauteng.

The premier said she was expecting the administrator to set up a technical team that would focus on bringing changes to health logistics, hospital management, human resources, financial management and communications.

She emphasised that the administrator and technical team would cease to exist once the department’s problems were over. She also emphasised that this team would work with the acting head of department Ndoda Biyela until a new head had been appointed.

The premier and the MEC for Finance, Mandla Nkomfe, promised to settle the health department’s outstanding debt of R883 000 by December 21.

Papo also vowed to crack the whip on staff members who are fraudulently claiming overtime payments.

The department has also promised to improve its supply chain management, and it accused some of its suppliers of overpricing their goods.

The DA welcomed Mokonyane’s announcement.

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