AfriForum opens criminal case against fourth provincial health department head

2018-11-07 14:43
Deputy CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Deputy CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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Lobby group AfriForum has opened criminal cases against four public health sector heads of department in a national bid to curb the "misuse of taxpayers' money".

The group started the process on Monday in KwaZulu-Natal where it charged former health department head Sifiso Mtshali.

Since Monday, charges have also been laid against the heads of health department in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and the Free State.

READ: AfriForum begins national campaign, lays charges against senior KZN health official

AfriForum said it would visit all nine provinces from November 5 to 9 to lay criminal charges.

Thobile Mbengashe, the Eastern Cape health head was the group's latest target, and had charges relating to offences in terms of section 86(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999) laid against her on Wednesday.

The Eastern Cape department of health's annual report indicates that it incurred irregular expenditure of R26.8m in the 2016/2017 financial year.

R1.3bn in irregular expenditure for KZN

The department also incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R6.8m in the 2016/2017 financial year.

"AfriForum [believes] the misuse of taxpayers' money is a national crisis. [The heads of department] must prevent irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure and must hold guilty parties accountable," said Arno Greyling, AfriForum's district co-ordinator for the southern Cape.

The most damage seems to have occurred in KwaZulu-Natal during Mtshali's tenure, with the health department's annual report indicating that irregular expenditure was R1.3bn in the 2016/2017 financial year.

KwaZulu-Natal incurred unauthorised expenditure amounting to R18.9m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R5.7m in the same financial year.

Under the leadership of health head Godfrey Mahlatsi, the Free State department incurred irregular expenditure to the tune of R300m in 2016/2017 together with unauthorised expenditure of R67m.

Led by Beth Engelbrecht, the Western Cape racked up irregular expenditure of R11.3m in the 2016/2017 financial year.

The lobby group is expected to have laid criminal charges against all provincial health heads by Friday.

In response, the national department would only say that it would follow legal protocols relating to the charges.

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