The affordable education loan option
Durban - Durban’s suspended head of health Nomakhosi Gxagxisa assured those interviewing her for the job more than four years ago that she was registered as a doctor.
But this year she pleaded guilty to the registration body, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), for not being registered between June 1992 and November 2011. She was fined R50 000.
Details of her interaction in applying for the job in 2009 emerged on Tuesday from KwaZulu-Natal’s Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.
He was rejecting charges from the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) that she had been a political appointment.
Dhlomo, who chaired the interview panel, said it had been noted that the HPCSA registration had not been included in Gxagxisa’s file.
But the applicant had said at the time that she had forgotten to include the document.
“That matter was going to be administratively pursued by human resources (HR),” said Dhlomo, who was deputy city manager at the time of the job interviews.
It emerged on Tuesday that in a letter dated June 4, Samwu claimed that provincial ANC leaders were to blame because they had instructed Dhlomo to appoint Gxagxisa.
Dhlomo denied being pressured or instructed to appoint her.
“We employed her because she was ‘employable’, she went through all the processes like anyone else who applied for that job.
“I can still remember some of the people who were interviewed.”
He also defended the decision to hire Gxagxisa despite her not providing proof of her HPCSA registration, disclosing that the HR department was supposed to get it from her.
But in its letter, Samwu said in a meeting with Dhlomo he had claimed to have been instructed to appoint Gxagxisa so as to protect the image of the ANC.
According to the union, the ANC had felt it would be “in trouble” if it became publicly known that Gxagxisa was receiving full pay while on a previous suspension for two years.
“So if this was discovered by the opposition, the ANC was going to be in trouble,” wrote Samwu.
Durban’s head of health post had been advertised in February 2009, just a few months before the general elections.
Dhlomo, who is also the chairman of the ANC in the eThekwini region, said the provincial party had supported the decision by the municipality to suspend Gxagxisa pending an investigation.
She was suspended last week for three months pending an investigation into charges of bringing the council into disrepute.
The suspension came after Samwu wrote to the provincial ANC chairman, Senzo Mchunu, requesting “political intervention” in her deployment.
Contacted on Tuesday, ANC provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, also dismissed the claim that the ANC had a hand in her appointment: “It’s certainly not true, the ANC does not get involved in the appointment of officials.”
He said, however, the ANC was aware of the problems that Samwu was having and its unhappiness with Gxagxisa.
But in its letter Samwu says:
“We understand that as ANC we have to look after our comrades, but not at the expense of innocent eThekwini Municipality people.”
The union further blames the ANC for what it says is the collapse of health services in eThekwini.
“The provincial leadership of the ANC knew very well that Gxagxisa was a problem and unmanageable, but still they decided to deploy her to… eThekwini Municipality Health Services.”
A Samwu official who did not want to be named said the situation in the health services unit had stabilised since her suspension.
“Workers are much happier now… they are also saying they will down tools should she come back to work.”
The DA said on Tuesday Gxagxisa’s appointment had been disastrous. “You just need to look at the financials and they show that the health unit underspent on its budget and so this had a very negative impact on service delivery,” said DA caucus leader, Zwakele Mncwango.
“The ANC should learn from this and get people who are suitably qualified for positions.”