Limpopo health department awards private hospital licence to senior official
Johannesburg - The Limpopo department of health awarded a private hospital licence to its head of department, Dr Thokozani Mhlongo, who was deputy director general at the time.
The department also appointed former South African Medical Association (SAMA) office bearer, Dr Dombo Mutheiwana, as a deputy director general even though she allegedly did not meet the requirements.
According to an award letter obtained by Sunday Independent this week, Mhlongo’s company, Teekay Enterprise (PTY) Ltd was given the greenlight to “plan, erect and operate a private healthcare facility in Burgersfort, Limpopo” in February 2017.
A letter signed by then HOD Dr Ntsie Kgaphole shows that Teekay was given the thumbs up to build a 259 beds hospitals in the Sekhukhune mining district on February 1, 2017 - just five days before she joined the department from the Mpumalanga department of health.
Mhlongo, who took over as HOD in March this year, is close to Limpopo health department chief financial officer, Justice Mudau. The duo worked together at the Mpumalanga department of health and social development.
Limpopo department of health spokesperson, Neil Shikwambana, said “all the private licensing procedures of the Limpopo Department of Health were followed” in the awarding of the licence to Teekay.
“The HOD has never been a director of Teekay Enterprise (PTY) LTD
The daughter has always been the director of Teekey Enterprise (PTY) LTD. The licence was obtained prior to the HOD joining the Limpopo Department of Health,” Shikwambana said.
He added that Mhlongo was never asked to give up the licence because she did not own it. And neither does she regulate the affairs of her own company.
“The department had no reason to ask such from the HOD as she doesn’t own any licence and also the fact that the licence which was owned by Teekay Enterprise lapsed and is no longer valid therefore there is no conflict of interest.”
However, the award letter seen by Sunday Independent listed Mhlongo as Teekay director. An independent company search on the government’s database of corporate ownership, CIPC, shows that Mhlongo’s 19-old daughter, Theo Ntombikababa Nkosi, is now the director of Teekay Enterprise.
In a letter of complaint written in September 2018, concerned doctors and nurses had claimed at the time that Mhlongo’s hospital licence was awarded after she joined the department but was backdated to create an impression the process took place before she came onboard.
“The licence was approved and signed by the provincial health HOD Dr Kgaphol Ntsie, backdated to February1 2017. The applicant for the private licence was Dr Mhlongo Thokozani (herself) on behalf of her company Teekay Enterprise,” the letter said.
On the alleged irregular appointment of Dombo, Shikwambana added: “The issues about the HOD and the private hospital license and the employment of Dr Dombo are old issues which we have provided responses to the media about some years back and are matters on the public domain.”