Healthcare corruption trends laid bare in ACT report

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“Deeply troubling” trends of corruption within the healthcare sector are revealed in the latest edition of the Analysis of Corruption Trends (ACT) report released this week.

This fourth edition of the half-yearly publication provides a snapshot of what the public has identified as areas of concern in the fight against corruption. It sheds light on the forms and types of corruption reported to the Corruption Watch during the first half of 2020.

Bribery, brutality and abuse of power are some of the key trends uncovered within the police service in the latest analysis, notes TimesLIVE. According to Melusi Ncala, the primary researcher for the report, it also illustrated that the will of the public to expose the corrupt and seek consequences remained strong during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The reports we receive provide a snapshot of the graft that has manifested in every sphere of government, with the complicity of the private sector, and encompassing multiple sectors in our society,” said Ncala.

Corruption Watch said close to 2,000 people blew the whistle on corruption during the first half of 2020, an increase of more than 400 reports received compared to the same period last year.

 

“Deeply troubling” trends of corruption within the healthcare sector are also revealed, notes a second TimesLIVE report. Corruption in the health sector was highlighted in particular by the COVID -19 pandemic response efforts.

“The country’s health system is under immense pressure. Corruption in the sector is among the trending areas of concern in this report, accounting for 4% of reports of corruption received. Corruption in this sector is perceived to still be a major problem, and at 39%, employment irregularities top the list. Whistle-blowers purport that vacancies are designed to favour officials’ preferred candidates. These individuals are friends, family members and members of political parties,” said the report.

In many cases relating to healthcare procurement irregularities, whistle-blowers reported that senior officials at health facilities were involved in every facet of procurement, ensuring that companies they had ties to were awarded lucrative tenders.

 

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s department is among several provincial departments and municipalities being probed regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). A Cape Times report notes that SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said this week the City of Cape Town, the Cederberg Municipality, Matzikama Municipality, Laingsburg Municipality, and the departments of Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs & Development Planning formed part of the probe.

Winde said the investigation into the Department of the Premier and the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environmental Affairs pertained to the pricing of thermometers purchased for departmental use.

“I welcome all of the SIU investigations into procurement in the province and across the country. We have already submitted all the required information to the SIU and have co-operated with them fully, as we have with all the other investigations. Procurement in the department is entirely administrative and the Premier is not involved in any procurement decisions,” he said.

 

The ANC in Gauteng has confirmed that its provincial executive committee (PEC) has extended the leave of absence of its three senior members implicated in irregular PPE tenders in the province. According to an EWN report, the three are suspended presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife, Johannesburg MMC Loyiso Masuku.

The party’s provincial secretary Jacob Khawe said that the two-week extension is to allow more time for the integrity commission to address weaknesses in its report, which was discussed during the PEC’s meeting over the weekend. Khawe has dismissed suggestions that the extension is meant to soften the blow to the ANC senior members, with some of the provincial integrity commission pointing to insufficient oversight by Masuku.

He said that the integrity commission’s report needed to be beefed up to address, among others, the evidence relied on to arrive at their findings, including whether the SIU was investigating them. The commission was given four weeks to investigate the issues around the awarding of a multimillion-rand PPE tender by the Gauteng Health Department to Diko’s husband. Khawe said that the provisioned time was simply too short for the committee to make solid recommendations.

 

Full TimesLIVE report

 

Trends analysis report

 

Full TimesLIVE report

 

Full Cape Times report

 

Full EWN report

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