The North West health department has officially suspended, with immediate effect, five officials who allegedly defrauded the Klerksdorp, Tshepong hospital complex of more than R1.2 million from May to November this year, the department said on Sunday.

“All the officials, except for one who is apparently on vacation leave outside the province, have been issued with ‘intention to suspend letters’ and given until close of business yesterday (Saturday) to make representations to Dr Kenneth Kaunda health district’s management as to why shouldn’t they be suspended,” the department said in a statement.

“Their suspected criminal activities were detected during the course of last week and have been reported with the Klerksdorp South African Police Service.”

North West health MEC Magome Masike reassured the public that the matter would be properly investigated by the relevant state authorities and decisive action would be taken against whoever was found to be on the wrong side of the law.

“The department wishes to reiterate its anti-corruption stance and warns its officials that engaging in criminal activities would result in possible imprisonment and immediate dismissal from the public service on account of misconduct,” the statement said.