Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Health said it considered the matter of Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital clinician Dr Tim de Maayer closed as the department refutes claims that he was issued a warning letter.
DA member of the provincial legislature Jack Bloom issued a statement on Tuesday in which he said a written warning had been given to De Maayer.
The paediatrician was reinstated at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in June following a precautionary suspension due to alleged “serious misconduct” after criticising the state of health care provided to children at the hospital in an open letter published on May 22.
The whistle-blower exposed, among others, that the hospital’s tomography scanner had been broken for three months, how the toilets looked when the water was off and how “hospital-acquired infections spread like wildfire”.
Bloom said the clinician’s alleged warning letter was revealed by Gauteng Acting Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to his questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
“According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, the hospital chief executive Dr Nozuko Mkabayi took the decision to suspend him. The reasons were ‘transgression of internal communications policy and the public services code of conduct.’
“Dr Mkabayi’s role in the suspension was ‘sanctioning the inception of the disciplinary process (precautionary suspension letter to enable an unhindered investigation)’. Nkomo-Ralehoko says that after the withdrawal of his suspension the ‘parties agreed on issuing of a written warning’,” said the spokesperson for health.
Bloom said he thought it was outrageous that Dr de Maayer was sanctioned for following his conscience in exposing how terrible hospital conditions led to the deaths of his young patients.
“Meanwhile, there will be no disciplinary action against the hospital CEO for her vindictiveness against De Maayer as Nkomo-Ralehoko says ‘the department has not yet established any wrongdoing by the CEO.’ The DA believes that disciplinary action against the CEO is warranted, as well as effective measures to fix the problems identified by Dr de Maayer,” Bloom said.
The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH), however, refuted Bloom’s statement and called it “deliberately misleading.”
Spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said the department dismissed this “misrepresentation of facts” and confirmed that no such warning letter was ever issued.
“We call on Mr Bloom to publicly share the said letter,” Modiba said.
The department said that in a written response to the legislature on Tuesday, Nkomo-Ralehoko indicated that while parties had contemplated issuing a warning letter against Dr de Maayer, this decision was never acted upon as parties had agreed to finally close the matter.
“Parties agreed on issuing of a written warning … Above parties agreed to close the matter,” the acting MEC wrote in the letter.
The department further reiterated that there is no disciplinary process under way against Dr Tim de Maayer and no warning letter was issued against him.
“The department considers the matter closed and will not be commenting any further on this case,” Modiba said.