KZN Health head set to be replaced

2014-08-07 00:00

CONTROVERSIAL KwaZulu-Natal Health Department head Sibongile Zungu has finally been let go, a civil service union said.

The KZN National Health, Allied and Workers’ Union (Nehawu) yesterday said it welcomed the non-renewal of her contract when it expired last week.

Zungu’s contract has, however, been extended for two months while the department is trying to find a replacement.

The provincial department had opted to extend the contract for two months after it did not serve Zungu with a notice of non-renewal prior to the contract’s expiry.

Nehawu chairperson Thobile Nkosi said the union was happy that the provincial department had heeded their call not to renew Zungu’s contract.

“Our view is that she has not in any way taken forward the department,” Nkosi said.

In June the union called for Zungu to be axed and also alleged wasteful expenditure, maladministration and corruption under her leadership.

But Zungu denied the allegations, which the union wanted Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to investigate.

The union had threatened to march to Premier Senzo Mchunu’s office and to strike in protest at the time, but backed down after a promise that their complaints would receive attention.

While Zungu could not be reached for comment yesterday, Mchunu’s spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya would neither confirm nor deny that Zungu’s contract had not been renewed.

Sibiya said the provincial cabinet would issue a statement on the future of the province’s heads of departments.

The Witness has established that some heads of departments were appointed as far back as 2010 and 2011.

These include the heads of departments for the Office of the Premier, the provincial Treasury, Education, and for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The positions of heads of Community Safety and Liaison, Agriculture and Rural Development are also vacant.

The heads of departments who were appointed in the last two years include those for Human Settlements, Sport and Recreation, and Transport.

• Zungu racked up about R310 000 cellphone and data bills while abroad in April 2013;

• The department is facing more than R1 billion in medical negligence claims under her watch; and

• The National Health Laboratory Service suspended its courier service over a R3 billion payment dispute with the department in March, resulting in the department using specialised patient care vehicles to deliver blood and tissue samples.

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