ANCYL, EFF call for investigation into North West health department, suspension of HOD

2018-02-21 20:32
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(Supplied)

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Johannesburg – The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the North West has called for a forensic investigation into the provincial health department.

This comes after the North West legislature laid criminal charges against the head of the province's health department, Thabo Lekalakala, after a marathon interrogation over a contract given to a Gupta-linked company, which also paid for his junket to India in 2017.

READ: North West legislature lays charges against health HOD over contract to Gupta-linked company

The health and social development committee, which held a sitting from early Tuesday evening until the early hours of Wednesday, was looking into claims that a healthcare organisation called Mediosa was awarded a R30m, three-year contract by the province's department of health in advance and without it going out to tender.

News24 earlier reported that Lekalakala admitted on Tuesday evening, while being interrogated by the committee, that a delegation from the department was taken to India just seven days after the health group received the payment.

Tshiamo Tsotetsi, spokesperson for the ANCYL in the province, said the league was calling on North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to withdraw his participation in any process aimed at resolving issues facing the health department in the province, including instituting a forensic investigation, as this would rob the process of any credibility since he was potentially directly involved in the matter.

Tsotetsi said the premier was the chairperson of the executive committee that undertook to place three provincial departments under administration in April 2015, the department of health being one of them.

HOD 'known as a bully'

"We call on the premier to withdraw his participation and allow the upper sphere of government to institute the forensic investigations on the matter at hand. He must allow the process to be credible and dignified," Tsotetsi said.

"Our call for the premier to withdraw his participation is further informed by the confession under oath by the health [head of department] Dr Thabo Lekalakala, that the trips he undertook to India were authorised by the Premier Supra Mahumapelo, with all expenses paid for by Mediosa (a so-called Gupta-linked) company.

"It is also public knowledge that the North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo is allegedly a component and an ally of the Gupta patronage and possible criminal network, which will therefore suitably link him directly to the confessions under oath by the Health department HOD Dr Thabo Lekalakala," Tsotetsi said.

ALSO READ: Gupta friends in state’s health pie

The EFF in the province said it was vindicated by Lekalakala's admission of corruption to the legislature.

"The HOD, who is also known as a bully, notorious for intimidating staff members in the department of health refused to produce the service level agreement (SLA) between the department of health and Gupta-owned Mediosa company," said EFF chairperson Betty Diale.

Diale said the EFF had opened a criminal case against Lekalakala with the Hawks and called for his suspension.

Gupta link allegations 'far-fetched'

"The EFF is also calling for the resignation of both Premier Supra Mahumapelo and MEC Magome Masike respectively," Diale said.

"The EFF is calling on the people of North West to stand up for a final push in the removal of the last vestiges of the Gupta parasitic network promoted by Premier Supra Mahumapelo and his zombified stooges."

Asked for comment on the allegations that Mahumapelo was a Gupta ally, Mahumapelo's spokesperson Brian Setswambung said: "The allegation is not only far-fetched, it also has no substance and seeks to distract Mahumapelo's attention from the real issue, which is to fight greed, crime and corruption in the province as he has been doing. Mahumapelo has recently acted very swiftly when he proactively facilitated the SIU (special investigation unit) investigation into the department of public works and roads in the province."

He said the premier's office had yet to receive a report on the meeting between the department of health and the portfolio committee.

"The office of the premier will not be deterred from proceeding with the forensic investigations which are [a] critical part of the ongoing initiatives to fight greed, crime and corruption," Setswambung said.

"In respect of Dr Lekalakala's trip to India, we can confirm that the premier signs permissions for such trips in principle after an MEC shall have recommended. In this case MEC Masike had recommended that the premier grants permission for Lekalakala's trip," he said.

Read more on:    eff  |  ancyl  |  corruption

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