Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - New Bara hospital acting CEO was implicated in the Esidimeni tragedy, the Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed on Friday. 

"The Democratic Alliance welcomes the removal of Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Acting CEO Dr Sifiso Maseko, but I am concerned that questions still remain about the role played by the new Acting CEO Dr Richard Lebethe in the Life Esidimeni tragedy," said Jack Bloom, a DA member of the provincial legislature in a statement.

Bloom, who shadows the health portfolio, said as Deputy Director General Clinical Services Dr Lebethe was in a position to raise concerns about the botched transfer of Esidimeni psychiatric patients, and he was one of the senior officials blamed by former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

At least 144 patients died as a result of the ill-fated transfers to NGOs.

"Earlier this year I asked Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa whether there would be a disciplinary process concerning his role in the Esidimeni disaster, and she said that this was being assessed in the light of the testimony at the Arbitration hearings chaired by Justice Dikgang Moseneke," said Bloom.

"It is unfortunate that there is a cloud over Lebethe’s head as he takes over the top position at this major hospital.

"The real need at this hospital is for a permanent CEO with dynamic leadership skills, but there has been an inexcusable delay in appointing such a person since Qedani Mahlangu removed the previous CEO in January 2016."

Bloom said Ramokgopa should ensure that corruption allegations at the hospital were "speedily investigated and a capable new CEO appointed as soon as possible".

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the third largest hospital in the world after the West China Hospital of West China Medical Center of Sichuan University, and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou.

African News Agency/ANA