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Durban - The Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (Denosa) has called on the provincial government to put the department of health under administration.

Denosa also called for action to be taken against the acting department head, Dr Musa Gumede.

The organisation was reacting to Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s recent report which found that the department had amassed R8.96billion in irregular expenditure in the 2017/18 financial year.

Makwetu also found that the department faced medical negligence lawsuits valued at R17.56bn in the year under review, while 62 department officials had failed to disclose their own interests or those of close family members, partners or associates in contracts entered into with the department.

“We’re disappointed because there are many challenges that lead to the creation of more problems for the department. When we ask the MEC to improve working conditions, we are told that there is no money. Half the amount spent on litigation could have improved the working conditions, which would then translate to fewer mistakes in the workplace,” said Denosa provincial organiser Mandla Shabangu.

He said the department was led by people who did not seem to care about the public.

Shabangu said they were not shocked at the non-disclosure by department officials.

“This is proof that there are individuals within the department who are there to serve their own interests. It worries us that the Premier (Willies Mchunu) is quiet about the situation. Why is he quiet?

“He should be putting this department under administration, cleaning it of the current management and employing new people,” he said.

Shabangu said Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo should also go, as things were falling apart under his watch.

The SA Medical Association supported Denosa’s call.

Thami Ngidi, the premier’s spokesperson, had not responded by the time of publication.

The department said it had embarked on a number of initiatives to ensure it was able to identify and accurately record all incidents of irregular expenditure.

These included a project to review, validate and reconcile all irregular expenditure and supply chain management deviations, the department said.

Daily News