The health dept adviser who earns more than Zuma

By Drum Digital
02 April 2015

A consultant who has been employed by the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department since 2010 has earned more than President Jacob Zuma, bagging at least R15 million during the past five years.

The two contracts he has signed could see him banking more than R20m over six years, while only working four days a week.

The decision by provincial health head Sibongile Zungu to hire Shabeer Ahmed Essa is so controversial that his employment is one of the key complaints levelled by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) against Zungu.

But Essa claims that he has been cleared by a previous investigation stemming from allegations made against Zungu, and has so far not heard anything negative from another recent investigation.

He maintains he is being paid according to the rates determined by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).

Zunga insists that Essa is not overpaid and vows to counter the Nehawu claims.

And in fact the opposition Democratic Alliance says the amount earned by Essa is nothing unusual.

The problem, according to Mark Steele, the DA's spokesperson on Public Accounts, is the number of consultants hired across the province at those amounts and the length of time they spend working for the province.

In January the premier's office admitted that it was investigating allegations of mismanagement, corruption and wasteful expenditure against Zungu that the union had brought against her.

They did not say what the allegations were, but in an attachment to a Provincial Executive Council memorandum, marked secret and signed by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu on December 2, Nehawu accuses Zungu of appointing friends to important posts, including Essa.


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