Manager’s extra-long leave

2008-06-24 00:00

A top hospital manager has been on paid leave for more than six months following irregular tender transactions at the hospital.

Staff at Fort Napier hospital have accused one of the managers, whose name is known to The Witness, of “money laundering” after two contractors were paid over R200 000 for incomplete jobs.

The KZN Health Department has vowed that the manager will face the music when he returns to work.

A total of R120 988 was paid to a company for the renovation of toilets and pavements. It is alleged that the company was paid double the agreed amount and did not complete the job.

“The condition of the toilets is appalling — they only painted the walls, took their money and left,” said a staff member who spoke on condition of anonymity. Staff have questioned the process of awarding contracts with management, to no avail.

Health Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa said the matter is being investigated. The company has been told to refund the amount overpaid for the job, but has not responded to two letters and did not answer a cellphone call, he said.

The company that handled the awarding of the contract on behalf of the hospital, Target Enterprise Development (TED) was informed about the unfinished job and has also tried to contact the contracted company.

“A total of R101 000 was paid for the rebuilding of pavements. The contract was cancelled and part-payment was paid,” said Mbangwa.

The manager at the centre of these shoddy contracts has since gone on leave for more than six months. It is alleged that he disappeared soon after an internal investigation started.

Mbangwa said the manager is on temporary disability leave. “Action will be taken when [he] returns.”

Another company was hired to clear bush on the hospital grounds, but even though, according to staff, the job was not finished, the company was paid.

Elite Garden Services (EGS) manager Chris Oavafkhenie denied that the job was unfinished. “We finished the job … We were not overpaid.”

However, Mbangwa insists that the company was overpaid. “The finance manager attempted to seek legal advice concerning the erroneous overpayment of EGS.” Mbangwa could not say how much was paid to EGS.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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