Reshuffle solves nothing, says DA

2018-02-21 06:00

The DA views the latest provincial cabinet reshuffle, which sees Lebogang Motlha­ping removed as MEC of Health and replaced by Fufe Makatong, as a superficial attempt by the premier to make it look as if she is tackling the problems at the Department of Health.

The abrupt reshuffle was done unexpectedly following the ANC’s denial of its existence two weeks ago.

Lucas called the press briefing on Thursday (15/02).

This follows the resignation of President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday (14/02).

She refered to a turnaround strategy to strengt­h­en health care administration and management by Motlha­ping.

The department has experienced intradepartmental transfers and exchange of staff in an attempt to improve health outcomes and strengthen financial management.

Dr Isak Fritz, DA spokesperson of Health, says that the reshuffling of politicians at the helm of this department will do more harm than good.

“Previously, just when the former Health MEC, Mac Jack, appeared to be opening the can of corruption within the Department of Health, he was whisked away and replaced by Motlhaping.

“Now that Motlhaping has just familiarised himself with the significant health challenges of this province, he is also whisked away to another department,” says Fritz.

The DA spokesperson says that the head of the Department of Health, Steven Jonkers, is the real elephant in the room.

However, Jonkers remains untouchable, Fritz says.

They challenge Lucas to deal with Jonkers as a matter of urgency.

“Jonkers was initially placed in the Health Department by Premier Lucas herself, as a so-called administrator, which did not make sense at all, considering that he has a terrible track record in good financial management, which is the key skill required of an administrator.

“The premier then went on to promote him to Head of the Department (HOD), via a headhunting process.

“This made even less sense, given that, during his time as HOD of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Jonkers went ahead with the forbidden lease of the Ocean Echo building.

“This was done despite an instruction to the contrary from then Finance Minister Pravin Gor­dhan.

“It was also Jonkers who advocated for the doomed intra-provincial airline that resulted in millions of rands worth of irregular and unauthorized expenditure.

“And it was Jonkers who pursued the dubious multi-million rand deal with Wilco­vert, for the expenditure of money intended for road safety initiatives, on furniture and donkey carts.”

According to the DA, the latest provincial cabinet reshuffle strengthens their belief that Lucas is being held to ransom by Jonkers.

“As long as Jonkers remains HOD of Health, the department will continue to regress and funds will continue to be channeled away from the core business of health, to questionable security contracts and so on and so forth.

“Until then, all the cabinet reshuffles and internal departmental reshuffles in the world will not solve the magnitude of problems faced by the health department,” Fritz says.


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