DENOSA welcomes resignation of Limpopo Health HOD implicated in irregular PPE contracts

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The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) has welcomed the resignation of the Head of the Limpopo Health Department. Doctor Thokozani Mhlongo resigned from her position on 1 July amid a disciplinary process over alleged irregularities in the awarding of PPE contracts.

Mhlongo and several other officials have been implicated in the alleged wrongdoing by both the Special Investigation Unit and the Public Protector’s reports into COVID-19 procurement.

Mhlongo was appointed as the accounting officer in the Limpopo Health Department in February 2020. She and several other managers in the department have been implicated in the SIU’s report for allegedly irregularly awarding R125 million PPE contracts.

A Public Protector’s report on COVID-19 procurement also shows that Mhlongo flouted the Public Finance Management Act.  She also faced an internal disciplinary process.

She tendered her resignation on 1 July.

“At the moment there is somebody who is deputy director-general, who is standing in, in that particular position. By the end of the week the provincial government will make an announcement of the acting HOD who will stand in the position for a period not exceeding 12 months by which time we would have gone through the process of filling the vacancy,” says Limpopo provincial spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela.

Ramakuela says disciplinary proceedings against others who have also been implicated are still under way.

“That particular investigation is still continuing and we are awaiting the outcome of that report. Once we receive it, we will make it public. There are officials within the Department of Health who have undergone the process including the HOD at that particular time but the conclusion of that investigation has not been done yet.”

There has been mounting pressure for the premier to deal with those that have been implicated in corruption:

DENOSA Chairperson in Limpopo, Lesiba Monyaki, says the assets of those who are implicated must be frozen before they resign.

“We are giving a strong warning to the MEC, even the Premier because she was not the only one that was implicated, so the department must make it a point that everyone who wants to leave the department, measures must be taken. There is an abundance of measures that can be taken when a person needs to leave, they can withhold their assets and their pension funds. They clear their names and they go away with their monies if ever they are not found guilty.”

Other labour unions like Nehawu have also welcomed Mhlongo’s resignation.