The team deployed to rectify the Eastern Cape Health Department’s disastrous COVID-19 response is being led by Sibongile Zungu, who has a contentious past at the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department and is one of several former employees currently under investigation by the Hawks for possible contraventions of the Public Finance Management Act, says Daily Maverick.
Dr Sibongile Zungu was appointed head of the newly created project management unit (PMU) in the Eastern Cape by Premier Oscar Mabuyane last week, after she and other experts were deployed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to root out the reasons for the province’s pitiful management of, and response to, the coronavirus. The formation of the PMU was among one of the recommendations made by the team which Zungu – a clinic adviser to the minister since 2019 – led.
The report says her CV makes for impressive reading, as does her experience – she has worked abroad in countries including Malawi and Tahiti, and in some of the most remote rural areas of KZN. But she continues to be haunted by allegations of mismanagement and corruption that follow her from a term as KZN Health head of department, which ended in 2014.
In January this year, a report was released by the public protector that made damning findings against Zungu and some of her colleagues for their roles relating to the procurement of four mobile health units leased by the department for use between 2012 and 2017 at a grossly inflated price of R61m.
The report says it was Democratic Alliance (DA) KZN MPL Rishigen Viranna who laid the charges against Zungu and some of her former colleagues on the veracity of the public protector’s report into the mobile units. The case has since made its way to the KZN office of the Hawks for investigation, after first landing at the national office.
Daily Maverick reports that Zungu said she “welcomed” the Hawks’ investigation and hoped it would finally put paid to the allegations about the tender.
Full Daily Maverick report