A disciplinary hearing against North West Health Head of Department (HOD), Dr Thabo Lekalakala, has been set for this week in Mahikeng.
The Premier’s office says he is expected to answer to procurement irregularities relating to an alleged Gupta-linked company Mediosa.
He is also charged with overstating his experience in his CV when he applied for the HOD position.
The Mediosa mobile clinics in North West made headlines after it was revealed that the company was paid R30 million before any work was done.
The company also paid for Lekalakala’s trip to India, to allegedly view the mobile clinics.
During his first visit to the province last year in March, Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi was critical of the service, describing it as a kind of ATM for the company.
“It’s not a service that South Africa needs at all. Whether you are in a rural or urban area we don’t need this service,” says Motsoaledi.
Lekalakala was subsequently placed on leave and then suspended despite misgivings by former Premier Supra Mahumapelo regarding criticism of the Minister on the service.
The HOD was reinstated in December 2018 after he challenged his suspension in court. North West Premier Spokesperson, Vuyisile Ngesi, elaborates on the charges Lekalakala is facing.
“He is charged with one misrepresentation as it was previously reported that in his CV he had stated that he had been a Chief Director at a national department, something that is being disputed by the provincial government. Now he is being charged with misrepresenting himself in the CV. Secondly, he is being charged with procurement irregularities in relation to Mediosa contract,” says Ngesi.
Labour unions have meanwhile called on the Department of Health to tread carefully on the matter.
“So we would urge the department to allocate competent dispute resolution manager or labour relations manager to deal with this matter because it is utmost important to us as the organisation. We cannot allow the situation whereby employees go on riots because of one person. It is high time that the department decide on whether they choose one person over the majority or not,” says Motlalepule Ramafoko, Secretary of DENOSA in the North West.
“Obviously if he comes back none of the employees would actually accept him, starting with us as trade unions – we are totally against his return – but at least the new MEC is really doing his best to ensure that the issue is handled properly this time,” says Mzukisi Jam, HOSPERSA.
The Department of Health has since terminated its contract with the controversial Mediosa, while the company has gone to court to demand that their mobile clinics be handed back to them after government confiscated the vehicles.
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