The DA deplores the deafening silence of the Gauteng Health Department concerning the News24 investigation that has exposed how corruption whistle-blower Babita Deokaran tried to stop fishy payments by Tembisa Hospital shortly before she was murdered.
According to emails and WhatsApp messages that were disclosed by News24 last week, Deokaran alerted Chief Financial Officer Lerato Madyo to a flood of payments by Tembisa Hospital to fishy companies.
She tried to stop payments of more than R100m, but the CFO allegedly overrode her objections and approved them.
Some of the payments were to three companies headed by senior ANC member Sello Sekhokho, currently Treasurer-General of the ANC’s Ekurhuleni region. He was paid millions of rands for what appear to be grossly over-priced medical supplies.
The latest revelation is that according to the then Acting Head of Department Sibongile Zungu, the CFO never asked her for an investigation of the Tembisa Hospital payments. This was despite Madyo informing Deokaran that she had requested the HoD to approve an investigation.
It looks as though Madyo had a central role in the cover-up of a massive scandal that may be linked to Deokaran’s murder.
You would have thought that after Deokaran’s death the CFO and the department would pay attention to what she had warned about, but it appears not.
And now we have a deafening silence from the department to the disclosures about the dubious Tembisa Hospital payments that total R850m.
Surely the CFO should be immediately suspended and a forensic probe done urgently?
This is why the DA has launched a petition to force the Department to take this action – see petition at https://petitions.da.org.za/p/investigate-tembisa-hospitals-fishy-payments-now
It reminds me of the delayed reaction to the Life Esidimeni deaths when the then Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu was not fired immediately but allowed to stay in her job for more than four months until the Health Ombudsman’s devastating report.
Babita Deokaran died because she was trying to fix the department. We owe it to her memory to speedily investigate and hold accountable those who shamelessly steal money that is needed for a decent health service in this province.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health