NC Health dept mum after senior officials arrested for PPE tender fraud
THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Health has not responded to media enquiries regarding whether its former acting head of department (HOD), Dr Dion Theys, and its chief financial officer, Daniel Gaborone, will be suspended after they were arrested by the Hawks on allegations of personal protective equipment (PPE) tender fraud to the value of R43 million on Monday.
The provincial secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Moleme Moleme, meanwhile believes that the arrests confirm the union’s suspicions regarding corruption at the department.
“Nehawu has been consistent in raising our concerns and campaigning against the mismanagement and looting of state resources. We have called on the provincial government on several occasions to deal decisively with corruption in the department,” said Moleme.
“What we find abhorrent is the manner in which the department failed to protect members and front-line workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, where they were not provided with adequate PPE. This is while officials of the department were looting resources that could have been utilised to protect workers.”
Moleme added that the union was ignored whenever concerns were raised regarding the poor supply of PPE.
“Even when we highlighted the corruption and maladministration associated with PPE, the employer never attempted to address our concerns.
“The same former acting HOD (Theys) was recently arrested for serious allegations relating to irregularities about the awarding of student nursing accommodation contracts and was released on bail. The department failed to take a decisive decision against the former acting HOD but rather swept the matter under the carpet.”
Moleme called for both officials to be suspended and charged pending an investigation.
“The former acting HOD was rather removed from the acting position and placed back in the chief director position without facing any consequences. This further confirmed our view that the government is not serious about combating corruption and maladministration in the department.
“The Department of Health must be consistent in applying discipline in the workplace irrespective of the position you occupy as we are all public servants.
“We cannot stand by while state resources and public money is pillaged and service delivery is compromised.”
The Department of Health did not respond to media enquiries.