Fingered officials obtain interdict

2010-10-04 00:00

TWO suspended senior officials of the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department have obtained court interdicts preventing disciplinary action being taken against them.

The two are among seven officials suspended by the department pending fraud and corruption investigations.

The interdicts are costly to the department as the officials are suspended on full pay and benefits.

While some of the officials are under suspension pending their disciplinary processes, The Witness has learnt that others have already been found guilty of corruption and misconduct and have been dismissed.

The former head of infrastructure resigned when the department was about to proceed with a disciplinary hearing against him.

The department is secretive about the names and direct involvement of individuals in the crimes committed.

It was reported that the officials, who are alleged to have colluded in defrauding the department of more than R200 million, have employed relatives to ensure the system is bypassed.

It is also alleged that they would inflate prices for ser­vices and pocket the money for bogus services.

The department reportedly fears that the siphoned amount could be close to R1 billion.

Recently two department officials, Mdu Ntshangase and Dr Busi Nyembezi, were among those arrested by the Hawks for defrauding the department of millions.

Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said the interdicts are delaying the pro­cess of rooting out corruption in the department.

He said a senior official in the department’s legal ser­vices, whose name Maxon declined to provide, obtained an interdict.

Maxon would not name the other official either.

“This is slowing down progress in the department’s endeavours to root out criminal elements from its books,” Maxon said.

“It is putting strain on the finances of the department as these people are suspended with full pay and benefits,” he added.

He said the interdicts, which were obtained on subjective grounds, prevent the department from carrying out disciplinary processes against the officials.

“The department believes in the balanced evidence against the officials and the interdicts will be contested,” Maxon said.

“These cases will be dealt with to ensure that the department is not seen as an institution where people do as they wish.”

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