No sign of report into KZN health boss

2015-04-02 12:38
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Durban - A report on investigations into alleged mismanagement and corruption under KwaZulu-Natal health department head Sibongile Zungu is yet to see the light of day - a month after it was supposed to have been handed to KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu.

Thami Ngwenya, the head of provincial government communications said: "The committee has not yet reported to the Provincial Executive Council. Once that has been done, we will communicate as we normally do."

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has repeatedly called for her to be sacked and at a media conference on December 4 threatened to bring the department to a standstill.

On Friday about 200 members of the rival Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of SA marched in Pietermaritzburg to demand a meeting with Mchunu.

"Late last year, a provincial government spokesperson confirmed to the media that an investigation was under way - and added that the outcome of the inquiry (headed by Professor Fikile Ndaki) would be made public. Yet, to date, we have heard absolutely nothing," said Hospersa spokesperson Michelle Connolly.

‘Secret’ memorandum

Details of the specific allegations have never been made public, but on January 7, Ngwenya told the SA Press Association that the inquiry, headed by Ndaki and assisted by Mimie Memka, had already been set up.

At the time he told Sapa that: "The inquiry should not deteriorate into a trial of Dr Zungu via the media. For now we ask everybody to allow the process to proceed in a fair and just manner."

News24 has obtained a copy of the provincial executive council memorandum that authorises the establishment of the inquiry headed up by Ndaki. It is marked "SECRET" and was signed by Mchunu on December 2.

While it is not known why the memorandum is marked secret, it is revealed that Zungu's appointment to a second term was almost a foregone conclusion had it not been for Nehawu's allegations.

"Whilst Dr Zungu's original five-year contract had expired, she had applied for the post again, and being the most successful candidate, it was recommended to the premier that she be appointed as HoD Health for a further five years," the memorandum reads.

Allegations of nepotism, corruption, poor administration

The memorandum states that the appointment could not proceed until Nehawu's allegations had been further investigated. Neither did it state at whose recommendation she should be given another five-year contract.

It points out that the union's allegations against Zungu include impropriety, nepotism, corruption, poor administration, excessive as well as inappropriate spending.

The memorandum also points out Nehawu has claimed that Zungu made excessive use of expensive private lawyers at disciplinary hearings.

These were not the only legal concerns that featured in the memorandum.

"Apart from allegations made by Nehawu, it has been brought to the attention of the premier by the state attorney that the number of civil claims brought against the Department of Health, based on negligence, have increased significantly over the last five years with potentially dire consequences for provincial revenue," it said.

When they do eventually hand over their report, Ndaki and Memka should have investigated the Nehawu allegations, listed all civil claims against the health department that have been finalised or are pending for the five-year period ending on March 31 2014.

They will also have to determine whether Zungu was right to bring in external lawyers to handle labour disciplinary processes.

According to the memorandum, Ndaki and Memka should have submitted their report by February 28. When they actually will is unknown.

Read more on:    sibongile zungu  |  senzo mchunu  |  pietermaritzburg

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