Inconsistencies in KZN Health scanner saga, DA

2008-04-09 00:00

The saga of the cancer scanning machine missing from Grey’s Hospital continues. Now, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has pointed out conflicting statements from the KZN Health Department regarding the machine.

The department charged suspended head Dr Busi Nyembezi with the theft of the scanner. The DA’s Margaret Ambler-Moore said that when her party raised questions regarding the machine, the department’s response was that Nyembezi had made arrangements for it to be removed from the hospital to get a second opinion on its usefulness. “The department has therefore been aware since that date that Dr Nyembezi was in possession of the machine.”

Ambler-Moore added that the DA received information that there were plans afoot to purchase another 11 machines at the inflated price of R1,5 million each.

Pointing to further contradictory statements, she said that Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni’s response to a question in October 2007 was that the R1,5-million machine was purchased instead of the R425 000 machine because Genmed was out of stock, forcing the department to source the more expensive machine from Rowmoor Investment.

However, at a health portfolio committee meeting yesterday, the department’s chief financial officer, Sipho Buthelezi, said the R425 000 machine is not suitable for mobile clinics.

“Ms Nkonyeni’s statement that she insisted on responsible testing of the machine by … specialists before making payment is completely contradicted by her then saying that the procurement had to happen speedily … and payment made in cash in order to receive a discount. An intermediary paid the cash [for the] department,” she said.

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