Johannesburg - The DA and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have welcomed the news that President Cyril Ramaphosa had signed the proclamation to extend the SIU probe into more than R1 billion Tembisa Hospital corruption.
Jack Bloom – the DA’s Shadow Health MEC – said when it is gazetted this week, the SIU will have powers to subpoena implicated people, including Humphrey Morgan Maumela who got R336 million from 12 companies that did business with the hospital over a two-year period. Maumela is Ramaphosa’s nephew from a previous marriage.
Another politically connected person is Sello Sekhokho, who scored R14.5m in contracts for grossly overpriced goods from Tembisa Hospital, and also got R85m worth of contracts from other Gauteng hospitals. He is the ANC’s Ekurhuleni Region treasurer general.
“I hope the SIU investigation extends to other hospitals, as the fishy companies that got contracts from Tembisa Hospital got contracts at other hospitals as well,” Bloom said.
“The SIU needs to investigate the corruption networks without fear or favour. I suspect that rotten officials in the Gauteng Health Department receive high-level political protection which needs to be exposed and ended.”
He said the delay in signing the proclamation was unfortunate, as “we need to see speedy justice for the murder of whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, who tried to stop the suspicious payments at Tembisa Hospital”.
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi shared the DA’s sentiments. He said his union welcomed the proclamation signed by President Ramaphosa, giving the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) more powers and scope to investigate corruption and looting in the Gauteng Department of Health relating to Tembisa Tertiary Hospital.
In their preliminary investigations last year commissioned by Premier David Makhura, the SIU uncovered that there was a mountain of irregular and corrupt activities that needed further investigation. Saftu subsequently supported the recommendation by SIU to seek proclamation for the expansion of the scope of investigation.
“Our interest lay in the destination of every cent and rand that was embezzled out of Tembisa Hospital through shell companies and inflated procurement prices. Though the gazette is not yet published for us to see the extent of the scope of investigation, we welcome this proclamation and hope that it gives SIU the powers to trace the bank accounts where these monies ended.
“This will help the public to ascertain who received kickbacks and benefited from this looting spree, especially in the context of the allegations that this money was funnelled to finance the Ekurhuleni regional congress of the ANC.
“Uncovering all networks and beneficiaries of this corruption is crucial for the prosecution that should without hesitation follow the conclusion of the investigation, and attach assets of those who unduly benefited and those who enabled this corruption, in order to recoup the losses the Gauteng government fiscus has incurred,” Vavi said.
“Justice for Babita Deokaran!”