KZN Health MEC cleared of blame

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Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has cleared KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo following an investigation into his conduct. The Cape Times reports that DA KwaZulu-Natal member of the provincial legislature Sizwe Mchunu had asked Madonsela to investigate Dhlomo for using an emergency helicopter to attend a funeral in Hlabisa in November 2012.

While he was there, 15-year-old Asheen Maharaj was involved in an accident and there was no emergency helicopter to get to the scene and transport him to hospital. Maharaj was transported in an ambulance but eventually died.

Mchunu alleged that Dhlomo used the South African Air Mercy Cross Trust helicopter, the only available emergency medical helicopter in the eThekwini metro, to fly to Hlabisa for non-medical emergency purposes.

The distance between Durban and Hlabisa is 268km. Madonsela said she found Dhlomo was attending not only a funeral in Hlabisa, but also had health-related meetings with the community.

She found Dhlomo’s conduct was not improper as the contract for the helicopter permitted the department to use it for a number of hours a month.

Full Cape Times report

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