DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom. Picture: Thembelihle Mkhonza/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - The Gauteng Health Department has paid more than R2 million to 18 officials placed on suspension with full pay for almost a year. 

This was revealed by Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku in his written reply to questions by DA spokesperson on health Jack Bloom, who wanted to know the number of officials who have been placed on suspension for various offences in the workplace.

Masuku said his department has 18 cases of officials who have been facing disciplinary action for offences dating back more than six months ago.

Masuku said his department had paid out R2052453.93.

He said only two disciplinary cases dated back more than a year ago, adding that the reasons for the delay were because of the complexities of cases, unnecessary postponements and capacity constraints in dealing with labour matters in his department.

Masuku said his department was also waiting for forensic investigations to support charges of fraudulent travel claims, acting beyond authority and non-compliance with policy and unauthorised absence.

According to Masuku, in his bid to alleviate the dilemma, he intends to appoint a service provider, a law firm with labour law background.

“There is continuous training and development of labour relations practitioners. Currently, 22 practitioners are attending a dispute resolution course at the University of Stellenbosch,” Masuku said.

Reacting, Bloom said personnel management was a serious weakness at the department.

“Lack of speedy and effective discipline leads to poor work performance and also lawlessness such as the trashing of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital in May last year, with no one yet held responsible.

“This is one of a host of issues that need to be fixed before grandiose national health insurance can be seriously contemplated,” Bloom said.

While Masuku laments the lack of a service provider to deal with labour disputes in his office, he admitted last week that his department was paying more than R650m a year to security companies to guard health institutions annually without a formal contract.

Masuku made the admission in his written legislature last month.

In his reply, he also listed service providers for supply and delivery of renal dialysis, waste management, collection of outstanding debt and paying patients, as well as service providers to assist hospitals with classification of patients who were appointed on a month-to-month basis after their respective contracts had expired in 2016.

Political Bureau