The six Emergency Medical Services (EMS) officials from the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape have been released on bail in the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
This comes after the group was arrested by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) based in East London on Monday, August 21.
The provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Warrant Officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana, said the group was arrested by members of the Serious Corruption Investigation Team and faces charges of fraud, forgery, and uttering.
Palesa Patient Molekane, 46, an ambulance practitioner in Aliwal North, Nonceba Maggie Mpelwane, 54, a controller in Aliwal North, Ntombizodwa Precious Sibidla, 43, a basic life supporter at Burgersdorp, Lebuhang Eunice Raisa - Busakwe, 47, a controller in Aliwal North, Sicelo Michael Sonjica, 49, a former emergency officer in Bizana and Sempe Johannes Mohare, 42, emergency care practitioner for ambulance assistance made a brief court appearance.
The group is alleged to have defrauded the Eastern Cape Department of Health.
"On December 10, 2014, the Eastern Cape Department of Health advertised 730 positions for Emergency Medical Care Services officers in all eight districts of the Eastern Cape," Mhlakuvana said.
"The requirements for the positions were, inter alia Grade 12 or equivalent certificate. The six officials who applied were shortlisted, interviewed, and employed. They started their positions on April 8, 2015."
On March 24, 2022, the group was requested to submit their original Grade 12 certificates, which they failed to do.
"The department embarked on verification of qualification where their Grade 12 certificates were declared fraudulent, and the matter was referred to the Hawks for investigation," Mhlakuvana said.
The investigation further revealed that the Department of Health was prejudiced by more than R7.9 million.
The group was released on R5,000 bail each.
The matter was moved to the East London Regional Court.
The group is expected back in court on September 11, for trial arrangement.