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Call to suspend Limpopo officials implicated in Special Investigating Unit’s PPE report

Limpopo Department of Health Head of Department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo. Picture: Supplied

Limpopo Department of Health Head of Department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 3, 2022

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Pretoria - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) has called for the immediate suspension of all implicated in the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) valued at R125 million by the Limpopo Department of Health.

Chief among those mentioned in the report are the head of the department, Dr Thokozani Mhlongo, chief financial officer Justice Mudau and other senior managers.

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The SIU report, released last week after President Cyril Ramaphosa had studied it, revealed a range of offences in the procurement of PPE in the province, including the appointment of Pro Secure, which allegedly did not follow due process to be allowed to tender.

On Monday, Pretoria News reported that the SIU had recommended that Mhlongo and Mudau, with others, be criminally charged.

Now the union has called on Premier Stan Mathabatha and Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba to take action without further delay.

Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday, Denosa chairperson in the province Lesiba Monyaki said the suspensions had to be done immediately to allow internal investigations and the law to take their course.

“Denosa calls on the premier and the MEC to implement recommendations wIthout any delay, and further place the affected and implicated executive managers on precautionary suspension,” Monyaki saidS.

“Denosa is disappointed, in particular, about this wasteful and fruitless expenditure occurring at a time when the Department of Health is failing to honour collective agreements in terms of employees’ benefits, citing ’budgetary constraints’.

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“The employees are demoralised, particularly nurses, who are at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic, and some of them could not even take their annual leave due to the shortage and non-replacement of nurses who went on pension, were transferred, and those who died.

“The money wasted by the Department of Health could have been used to employ nurses to address crippling staff (shortages) in the clinics and hospitals, and to enable communities to access quality health-care services.

“There is no intake for new nursing students at the Limpopo Nursing College.

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“Many employees are acting in higher positions without compensation, and employees were not paid performance incentives for 2020/2021, allegedly due to the same ’budgetary constraints.’”

Last week Mathabatha’s office imposed a ban on the department responding to questions from the media, saying the office would respond after studying the report.

Pretoria News

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