Health MEC Maruping Lekwene said his department is giving the matter urgent attention and is investigating whether any of the claims were fraudulent.
SEVENTY-five million rand in overtime was paid out to personnel in the Northern Cape Department of Health between March and August 2021.
This was revealed during the unveiling of new emergency medical services (EMS) vehicles in Kimberley on Tuesday.
The MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, said the majority of claims were paid out to medical doctors.
Lekwene said the department is giving the matter urgent attention and is investigating whether any of the claims were fraudulent.
“This is a very huge amount that was paid out. We are currently giving attention to that. We have urged some security companies as well as managers in the department to follow up on this in order to investigate whether any fraudulent overtime claims were submitted. We do acknowledge that if someone has worked overtime, they must be compensated for these hours. However, we advise against any false claims as that is a criminal act,” Lekwene said.
He added that the fraudulent use of petrol cards is also one of the problems that the department is currently trying to root out.
“We have had to dismiss an employee who was assisting community members in making legal claims against the department fraudulently. There are also other cases where enough evidence was collected that is now being dealt with by management. We need all our employees, but cannot condone criminal acts from staff. We will clamp down hard on such acts. We do advise our staff not to get involved in such acts as it will have dire effects on their careers and livelihoods.”
The MEC pointed out that the shortage of staff being experienced by the department has a ripple effect on overtime.
“What drives the overtime is the shortage of staff. We have staff who have to work many hours in order to ensure that our services are delivered to the people. We are, however, not condoning any illegal or fraudulent activities from any of our employees and those who are found to be guilty of such actions will be disciplined. We call on managers to check that the paperwork for the claims match that of the hours submitted,” he said.