THE DEMOCRATIC Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in Limpopo has called on Premier Stan Mathabatha and Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba to appoint a “credible” professional with “integrity” as the new Department of Health head.
These assertions follow the resignation of former head of department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo on Friday amid a dark cloud of a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal that rocked the province.
Denosa in February called for the immediate suspension of all implicated, including Mhlongo and chief financial officer in the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the procurement of PPE valued at R125 million by the Limpopo Department of Health.
In January the Pretoria News reported that the SIU had recommended that Mhlongo and chief financial officer Justice Mudau, with other senior officials, be criminally charged.
Mhlongo and Mudau were going through an internal disciplinary hearing when she resigned.
Denosa Limpopo chairperson, Lesiba Monyaki, said the union welcomed the resignation of Mhlongo as they had been calling for her head.
“We further call upon the Premier (Mathabatha) and the MEC (Ramathuba) to appoint a credible person with integrity to lead the Department of Health, taking into consideration challenges affecting our health system in the province.
He said the health system had deteriorated since Mhlongo’s appointment.
“This is proven by shortage of nurses, non-absorption of post-community service nurses, non-intake of new nursing students by Limpopo College of Nursing, shortage of ambulances, failure by clinics to provide 24-hour service due to shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers which denied communities their basic and constitutional right to access health services.
“We are deeply disappointed because the HOD resigned at the time when Denosa and the public was looking forward to the premier implementing recommendations by both SIU and public protector on corruption and maladministration against the former HOD and other Exco members.
“We don’t rule out the relationship between the resignation of the former HOD and the findings by both SIU, public protector and undergoing investigations as per Proclamation 55 of 2022 on removal, treatment, transportation, collection and disposal of risk waste in the department,” Monyaki said.
Office of the premier spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela said an acting head of department would be appointed for a period until the vacancy was filled, in line with applicable legislation.