The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] calls for an immediate forensic investigation in the North West Department of Health. The national union has for some time been at the forefront of highlighting issues related to corruption, wasteful and fruitless expenditure including unduly benefitting by the Gupta and their cronies.
It has come to our attention that currently the department is parking 42 new ambulances while it spends millions monthly on private service providers to ferry patients. There have been also allegations of inflating invoices by the service providers and the department has not done anything to investigate these allegations. The department bought these ambulances to add to its already existing fleet of 60 ambulances. The ambulances have been basking in the sun while the department has not undertaken a process to register and license them.
As NEHAWU, we strongly believe that this is done so that space can be created for private ambulance owners to make more money while the department is dragging its feet in procuring more ambulances every financial year to increase its fleet. Instead of procuring its own fleet the department apparently paid a Gupta-linked company, Mediosa, R30 million in advance for a mobile clinic service without going to tender last year.
The department was placed under administration last year and this has led to those who are politically connected to have direct control over the department’s budget and tenders. As NEHAWU, we did raise concerns when the department was put under administration that it was not done for the right reasons but rather to further plunder state resources. Over the years, outsourcing of key functions of the department has benefitted and enriched service providers who are politically connected.
The Provincial Government and the department went ahead without any consultation to introduce the private Buthelezi Ambulance services. For us, this represent steps to partially collapse the Public Service Emergency Services. This comes at a very expensive bill to the department and tax payers have to foot the bill. This is inconsistent with the vision of the ANC-led government of providing quality health care especially to the majority of the populace that is unemployed, poor and living in abject poverty.
We have it on good authority that the Buthelezi Emergency Services is been given top priority in terms of payments. Their bill is prioritised over all other financial commitments including but not limited to compromise workers in the public service whose overtime payments are delayed because priority has been given to this company.
Public Servants who provide emergency services are being rendered useless through this private service provider because their service to the public service is not beneficial to certain individuals who hold authority in the department and government.
As a matter of urgency we demand the following that:
• The HOD of the Health Department be removed as he has not only failed dismally but has also contributed in loosing government millions of rands
• Uncompromisingly payment of outstanding overtime payments and PMDS cash bonuses to our members and all workers in the Department.
• Noting the embarrassing pictures circulated on the state of the Bophelong Hospital, which exposes the lack of proper management by the CEO, that the same CEO must be suspended and that there be an investigation on the scary situation
• that there be an urgent investigation of the state of health facilities by the department focusing on shortage of staff; lack of medication; state of emergency services; impact of privatisation (Marang; Buthelezi; EMRS Call Centre; HR and Supply chain outsourced labour force etc.)
• An independent forensic investigation on Health Department, Social Development and Rural Environment and Agriculture Department.
• Given the fact that Head of Departments are reporting to the Premier thus demand that the Premier must account on these shenanigans that are taking place in the Province he is presiding over.
Failure to adhere to these demands in 30 days will leave us with no option but to unleash massive rolling action throughout the province. The national union vows to shut down the entire public service if the department continues with these self-enrichment schemes that are an impediment to service delivery and in the process also loses government money.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za