Gauteng mental health board suspended

2017-06-27 17:46
Gwen Ramokgopa. (Christopher Moagi, Netwerk24)

Gwen Ramokgopa. (Christopher Moagi, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The mental health review board has been suspended pending an investigation of its fitness to hold office, Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said on Tuesday.

Ramokgopa was delivering her budget in the Gauteng legislature. She said, based on the health ombudsman's recommendations: "The members of the previous board have been suspended and will be subjected to an inquiry on their fitness to hold office."

A new district-based mental health review board, with secretariat support to ensure independence, had already been appointed, she said.

Ramokgopa said the process to appoint a new board was above board. She added that a vetting process had been implemented, criminal background checks, verification of qualifications, and candidates shortlisted.

"I am pleased to announce that appointments have been made after this rigorous process over the last four months."

Outlining her budget, Ramokgopa said she had been allocated R40.2bn, a 1% increase from the previous financial year.

Of this, 60% (R23.8bn) had been set aside for compensation of employees. The rest of the budgeted funds would go towards subsidies and transfers to municipal universities and NPOs, as well as goods and services   

'Going to require a bailout'

She outlined some of her department’s achievements, such as the transformation, modernisation and industrialisation of the five health corridors.

"We continue to be a leader in several health care procedures, such as minimal invasive surgery. We have trained fellows from around the country, and other countries, in this surgical procedure at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital for the past three years," she boasted.

Some failings in Ramokgopa's department, however, were identified by the opposition Democratic Alliance, including a failure to clear its supplier debts.

She said the health department was working around the clock to clear accruals and ensure that suppliers were paid and that services were not compromised.

"An amount to the value of R3.5bn has been paid to suppliers since the beginning of the financial year," she said.

The DA's Jack Bloom said the department had been plagued with lawsuits. He said the health department had lost R9bn since 2015 in lawsuits, but that no staff member had been fired.

"This budget is inescapably going to require a bailout," an unimpressed Bloom said.

Read more on:    jack bloom  |  gwen ramokgopa  |  health

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