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Limpopo Health delays acting against official linked to misconduct

For the past year and a half, Limpopo Health officials have failed to act on a request to charge a supply chain employee – who had previously left another department to join Health, despite facing disciplinary action from his former employer.

Ntshane Maphoto was formerly with the Department of Public Works & Infrastructure, where he was accused of preferential treatment after hiring Rachodi Enterprises for maintenance work at the Polokwane regional office, although the company was not registered on National Treasury’s central supplier database.

On 28 March 2022, then Public Works & Infrastructure acting DG Imtiaz Fazel wrote to former Limpopo Health HoD Thokozani Mhlongo informing her of an investigation’s finding that Maphoto had contravened supply chain processes, code of conduct of supply chain management, and the Constitution.

City Press reports that Fazel had attached copies of the report and supporting documents, and asked Mhlongo to institute a disciplinary process against Maphoto.

“… the allegations of misconduct are very serious … they amount to procurement irregularities, which cannot be condoned,” Fazel wrote.

Public Works & Infrastructure could not charge Maphoto because he had left the department, but Fazel said that under the Public Service Amendment Act, the head of the new department could charge and discipline an employee from another department if requested by that HoD.

However, Mhlongo left Limpopo Health having done nothing, and neither did her successors, who acted in the position.

Sources told City Press Maphoto was the department’s “blue-eyed boy” and untouchable, and that tender irregularities were ongoing.

Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said the report that came from Public Works & Infrastructure had incomplete sections to enable any action to be launched.

“We have just received the documents and have started with the …process.”

Shikwambana said the department was not aware of any tenders being irregularly awarded.

In July, the department was accused of awarding irregular multimillion-rand tenders – worth some R9m – to suppliers of coal for boilers in 14 hospitals, but the tenders were also awarded to some hospitals that did not even use coal, and to others that had dysfunctional boilers.

And in August last year, the department defended its decision to award a tender to KZN company Veritas Digital in June 2022 to digitalise patient files – for 42 hospitals and 400 clinics – at an exorbitant cost of more than R1bn.

 

News24 article – Limpopo health department fails to discipline delinquent official (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Probe launched after Limpopo Health coal tender raises red flags

 

Limpopo health chief resigns amid multimillion rand PPE tender probe

 

No action against Limpopo Health officials involved in dodgy tender

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