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AG health report, answer to Mbeki's question

Published Aug 21, 2007


The evidence President Thabo Mbeki needed to sack Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was contained in the auditor-general's reports, the Public Service Accountability Monitor said on Tuesday.

"If President Thabo Mbeki needs evidence for the removal of Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, he need look no further than the auditor-general's and annual reports of South Africa's national and provincial health departments," the PSAM said in a statement.

The reports show that, during her time as Minister of Health, Tshabalala-Msimang had failed to ensure adequate financial management and had failed to ensure a reduction in the shortage of skilled health workers in South Africa, the PSAM statement read.

Amongst other things, the auditor general found: late or non submission of monthly and quarterly financial reports by provinces, resulting in the national department not being able to properly monitor expenditure; quarterly visits to provinces were not always conducted and the minister had failed to ensure that her accounting officer had maintained oversight over the financial management of provincial departments.

"The Eastern Cape department of health has received seven audit disclaimers during the eight years Minister Tshabalala-Msimang has been in office," the PSAM said.

The vacancy rate of skilled health workers in the South African public health sector had grown from 27.2 percent in 2005 to 33.3 percent by the end of March 2007.

"South Africa's health services have been compromised as a direct consequence of these failures which are a matter of public record, and President Mbeki should be aware of them."

Meanwhile, the FF Plus said the longer it took for allegations against Tshabalala-Msimang to be disproved, the more believable they would become.

"For example, an investigation into the allegations of theft in Botswana is not necessary. The President can merely ask Minister Tshabalala-Msimang whether the facts are true or not and then issue a statement in which she either acknowledges or denies it," said Pieter Mulder.

Tshabalala-Msimang would have to accept that stricter rules of transparency applied to public figures and could not hide behind privacy regarding allegations being made about her liver transplant.

The Democratic Alliance has alleged that President Thabo Mbeki intervened in the transplant process.

"It is a pity that politics are presently being operated on this level. The easiest way for the government to clear this out of the way is for the South African public to be informed about all the facts pertaining to every allegation. Without this we will be fumbling around in the mud for weeks to come," said Mulder. - Sapa

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