The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on Premier David Makhura to take a special leave pending the outcome of the Special Investigating Unit’s COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) probe.
The calls comes after news emerged that former Gauteng Health Department chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya, had implicated Makhura in the scandal.
In her affidavit at the special tribunal, Lehloenya stated that Premier Makhura gave her the names of the companies to appoint to supply and deliver PPEs in the province.
“The DA is not surprised to learn that Premier Makhura has been implicated in the awarding of the multi-million personal protective equipment (PPEs) tenders. This PPE corruption scandal happened under Makhura’s watch and he did not do anything to prevent it. The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask the SIU to urgently investigate these allegations levelled against the Gauteng Premier,” says the DA’s Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga.
The Economic Freedom Fighters in the province has on the other hand called for Mkhura to resign over the matter, while the Cosatu affiliated nurses’ union, DENOSA, has urged him to take special leave.
In October, DENOSA Gauteng chairperson, Simphiwe Gada, said the union would work with Makhura once the SIU’s investigation is complete and his name is cleared.
The union says the Premier has a tendency of escaping accountability.
It has cited the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which claimed the lives of 143 psychiatric patients after the Gauteng health department moved at least 1 700 patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs and state facilities in 2016.
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in Limpopo has expressed concern over the shortage of nurses to fight the surge in COVID-19.
The nurses’ union says the Capricorn, and Vhembe districts are hit the hardest.
“We further take note of Limpopo Health Department’s efforts to strengthen capacity in the fight against the pandemic by establishing additional COVID-19 beds to accommodate many patients who need in-patient care. We believe that these additional beds will not save the lives of community members due to shortage of nurses who are required to take care of patients admitted in the hospitals. The available nurses are already overstretched, exhausted and frustrated due to the overwhelmed health system in the province,” says provincial secretary, Jacob Molepo.
Denosa says the health department was ill prepared for the resurgence of coronavirus infections.
“(The) shortage of healthcare workers is mainly caused by failure to fill vacant nursing posts left by nurses who went on pension, transferred or lost their lives. The situation is exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, which confined more than hundred nurses either on self- quarantine or isolation.”
The union has also expressed worry over the department’s decision to dismiss more than 350 newly qualified professional nurses, who are due to complete their community service on the 31st of this month.
“Limpopo Department of Health is now serving as a training agent for other provinces such as Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and private healthcare institutions which are benefiting from professional nurses trained and dumped on the streets despite severe shortage in the public hospitals and clinics. The Limpopo Health Department trained and dumped about 700 professional nurses who were recruited by other provinces and private healthcare institutions, Denosa Limpopo.
The union is urging the Department of Health to resolve shortage of nurses and other Healthcare Workers through:
- Absorption of 368 professional nurses who were issued with letters to terminate their contract at the end of January 2021.
- Location and appointment of Post-Community Service Professional Nurses who were trained and dumped by Limpopo Department of Health in 2019 and 2020.
- Implementation of Circular 39 of 2020 by appointing 1362 Professional nurses, 167 Staff Nurses and 102 Nursing Assistants as advertised.
- We believe that additional beds are required to strengthen the province’s capacity to deal with the resurgence.
During his address to the nation on Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said they are filling vacant posts at the country’s healthcare facilities.
Limpopo has more than 38 878 COVID-19 infections and 677 deaths.
The provincial government has said hospitals will sent patients who refuse to be transferred to hospitals in other parts of the province back home.
DENOSA provincial chairperson Simphiwe Gada says the union is prepared to work with Makhura once the probe is completed.
The union also blasted the Premier for perceived indecisiveness on the matter against sacked Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku.
Makhura fired the political appointee on Friday after a Special Investigating Unit preliminary report found him to have failed to execute his oversight duties, thus violating the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
While praising Masuku for his work while still at the helm of Gauteng Health, the union expressed unhappiness with the Premier’s assertion that he will reinstate Masuku should he be found not to have engaged in any corruption during the PPE procurement process.
The matter is still being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
“If you want to be liked you must sell sweets. The Premier must decide whether to fire or hire. He needs to be clear on that.”
Gada says the union will write to Makhura soon, outlining its position.
He addressed the media after the union’s special Provincial Executive (PEC) meeting held this weekend.
Makhura is yet to respond to Denosa’s call.