Mpumalanga premier suspends health boss
Johannesburg - Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has suspended the head of the provincial health department, his office said on Monday.
It confirmed the suspension of Johnson Mahlangu, but would not give any more information as it was a "sensitive" issue.
The Sowetan newspaper reported that Mahlangu had been suspended for allegedly awarding a R120m contract to a company linked to the ANC Youth League.
The company, Isibonelo Waste Solutions, was awarded the contract for the removal and treatment of medical waste in the province. Isibonelo is co-owned by Christos Eleftheriades, a business partner of ANCYL president Julius Malema, the newspaper reported.
The Democratic Alliance welcomed the suspension, but voiced concern over the impact on the health department, which it said was already in crisis.
"If Premier Mabuza suspended Mahlangu due to irregular tender procedures, then the suspension and subsequent investigations and actions are legitimate and right," DA MPL Anthony Benadie said in a statement.
"If so, it must be determined if the reported links of the said company with the ANCYL and its president Julius Malema had any role to play in the company receiving the R120m tender in the first place."
According to the Sowetan report Mabuza was not happy with Mahlangu dismissing his preferred choice of company, which Mabuza believed should have received the tender.
"This aspect also needs to be investigated, as the premier has no right to dictate which company should or should not be awarded tenders," Benadie said.
The DA said it would ask Health MEC Clifford Mkasi to investigate the tender process followed in appointing Isibonelo Waste Solutions.
It called on Mabuza to prioritise the investigation and appoint an acting head of department.