- The Gauteng Department of Health has denied that suspended Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi was appointed despite facing a charge of misconduct.
- Earlier, DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom said Mthunzi was charged while he was CEO of Pholosong Hospital.
- Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said the DA's claim was an attempt to distort facts.
The Gauteng Department of Health has dismissed claims by DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom that suspended Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi was appointed while facing a charge of misconduct.
On Wednesday, the department said Bloom's claim was a "deliberate distortion of facts" and that Mthunzi had not signed a final written warning in September 2021.
On Monday, Bloom said the charge emanated from Mthunzi's previous position as CEO of Pholosong Hospital.
Bloom cited a recent written response from Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi to a question he filed in the Gauteng legislature.
In her response, Mokgethi said the head of the department, Dr Sibongile Zungu, had approved recommendations for disciplinary action against Mthunzi for contravening the recruitment and selection policy and that the Labour Relations Directorate would implement the recommendations.
The DA’s Jack Bloom met with the Tembisa Hospital Acting CEO, he claims that they do not buy cloth towels at all, it's paper towels, and there was a coding error. They have overspent on goods and services by R749 million while the annual budget is R320 million.@JackBloomDA pic.twitter.com/IB4W5C5J0D— DA Gauteng (@DA_GPL) September 21, 2022
Bloom said this response contradicted Mokgethi's answer to the same question filed in June. Mokgethi had denied that Mthunzi was unfit to hold the position because of the charge, said Bloom.
"The important issue is that Mthunzi should never have been appointed. According to Mokgethi, 'the Selection Committee did not have knowledge or information on Dr Mthunzi's pending disciplinary hearing while at Pholosong Hospital'," said Bloom.
Tembisa Hospital site visit
On Wednesday, Bloom visited Tembisa Hospital to assess whether suppliers had delivered goods "erroneously procured" for R1.5 million. These included skinny jeans and luxury armchairs.
Bloom said when he asked to see the armchairs, he was directed to the ICU and high care wards.
"We then visited an ICU ward and were shown adjustable height chairs without side arms. When I pointed out that these were not the leather wingback armchairs that were recorded as being bought for R5 000 each, they again said it was a 'coding error'," he said.
In the investigative series SILENCED, News24 exposed corruption at the hospital, the people, and companies who were believed to have unduly benefitted from contracts worth R850 million that had been flagged as suspicious by murdered whistleblower Babita Deokaran.
The investigation revealed that the hospital splurged R500 000 on 100 leather wingback chairs. The contract was awarded to a company named Sogaki, which is controlled by "businessman" Sydney Thindelo.
Thindelo is one of the business people who make up the web of beneficiaries who benefitted from the suspicious payments.
It was found that he had scored 43 contracts, amounting to R20.1 million in less than two months.