‘Unqualified’ Health man earned R3,2?mln

2010-10-08 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Health Department’s former head of communications, Leon Mbangwa, who resigned after he could not produce proof of his qualifications, earned more than R3,2 million during almost four years in office.

Mbangwa, who started at the department in January 2006, resigned on Friday amid disciplinary processes against him after he failed to prove he has a masters degree in public administration.

A source said Mbangwa’s appointment was “closely managed” by former head of department Dr Busi Nyembezi up to the point of its confirmation.

The source said in that terms of a cabinet decision in January 2002, accounting officers for each department have to supply proof of employment records, qualifications, citizenship and criminal records before they are employed.

“However, in this case we cannot find evidence that such verification was ever done. Mbangwa was appointed to a very senior position in the department without appropriate measures being taken,” said the source.

Spokesperson Chris Maxon said the department had faced some instability, which had led to the resignation of Dr Nyembezi. “On at least three occasions Dr [Yoliswa] Mbhele, who was acting after Nyembezi, requested all senior managers to produce original copies of their identity documents and qualifications.

“We are informed that Mr Mbangwa had said he had outstanding fees to pay at university and would produce these later,” said Maxon.

Proof from institutions that Mbangwa had obtained certain qualifications was not forthcoming.

“Friday’s hearing was due to the absence of these documents, and he opted to resign. The department must admit that the verification process started with some teething problems. Among these were staff [including potential staff] resistance to the verification process and that staff took long to provide proof of qualifications where it was requested,” he said.

He said delays by verifying institutions and obtaining proof of older qualifications that had apparently been lost had delayed the verification of Mbangwa’s qualifications.

Public Service and Administration spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba said its legal team is consulting KZN health about the merits of the case.

John Steenhuisen of the Democratic Alliance said the case is one of misrepresentation and the department should find ways to recover the money.

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