Wednesday, 29 May, 2024
HomeWeekly RoundupProcurement scandal is the 'ugly face' of Gauteng Health — Premier

Procurement scandal is the 'ugly face' of Gauteng Health — Premier

Addressing the Gauteng legislature, Premier David Makhura “spoke bluntly” about the corruption pandemic in general, and the problems besetting Gauteng Health in particular, writes Maverick Citizen Editor Mark Heywood.

Makhura said the PPE procurement scandal “just showed up the ugly face of the [health] department”, describing “structural and systemic problems… that have a bearing on financial sustainability”.

Referring to a report on Gauteng Health he had received from the Public Service Commission, he called it a “culture of irregular processes… a systematic culture of undermining clean governance and effective delivery of public health care services”.

To address this crisis, he said an “intervention team has been appointed by the provincial executive” made up of experts and clinicians, who should in particular help “redirect resources from the top to the bottom”.

The composition of the team, which was decided in consultation with the national minister of health, is made up of seasoned public health experts and includes financial expertise and civil society. Its members will be announced next Wednesday.

Makhura also said a new health MEC, to replace Dr Bandile Masuku, would be announced this week.

In response to Maverick Citizen’s questions about the four ICU field hospitals that are still under construction, Makhura said the verdict was still out on whether these investments were “wisely considered”, adding that he planned to visit the sites to see for himself.

Importantly, he pointed out that readiness did not just apply to beds only, but “must be matched with resources and staffing for the new facilities”.

On the broader issue of corruption and financial mismanagement, Makhura was just as blunt.

Starting by pointing out how Gauteng had been on a steady trajectory of improved audit outcomes – his own office and the Gauteng treasury has had eight years of clean audits and the province as a whole had risen to 65% by 2017/18 – he warned that “there are now signs of regression” and that “corruption is rearing its ugly head again”.

“But I want to say that we are not going to take it lying down.” Next week he will receive a report from the Auditor General on their continuing investigations into Covid spending.

He also reported that 65% of senior officials, “especially those responsible for allocation and procurement”, have been vetted by the State Security Agency and that lifestyle audits have been completed on all members of the executive council. He promised that lifestyle audits would be extended to all senior officials, especially members of supply chain management committees.


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