Kupelo vs Manana: EC health puts spin doctors on precautionary suspension

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Sizwe Kupelo.
Sizwe Kupelo.
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  • The Eastern Cape health department says the allegations against its communicators Siyanda Manana and Sizwe Kupelo are serious. 
  • Manana served Kupelo with a notice to institute disciplinary measures against him after accusations that he is in possession of a fake matric certificate, which he had allegedly used to secure his government job 20 years ago.
  • Kupelo reported Manana to the Public Protector accusing him of nepotism. 

The Eastern Cape Department of Health has put its Communications Director, Siyanda Manana and Media Liaison Officer, Sizwe Kupelo under precautionary suspension with immediate effect.

The two communicators made headlines this week, after Kupelo reported Manana, who is his supervisor, to the office of the Public Protector, accusing him of favouritism, fraud, nepotism, and maladministration.

News24 reported that Kupelo wrote a letter to advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, which was submitted on Tuesday. 

Kupelo submitted the letter days after Manana served him with a notice of a disciplinary action over an alleged fake matric certificate.

This after a whistleblower alerted the department to conduct an audit of Kupelo's certificate. 

The 43-year-old was given until Wednesday to give reasons why the department should not charge him with fraud. 

READ | Eastern Cape health spokesperson embroiled in 'fake' matric certificate scandal

Acting Head Of Department, Mahlubandile Qwase, took the decision to place the two on precautionary suspension with immediate effect due to the "seriousness of the allegations". 

Qwase said:

Subsequent to allegations between Communications Director, Mr Siyanda Manana and Media Liaison Officer, Mr Sizwe Kupelo made in the media this week; the Eastern Cape Department of health has taken a decision to put them both on precautionary suspension with immediate effect whilst the department conducts its own internal investigation.

The letter to Kupelo written by Manana dated 20 July read:

"You are hereby advised of the department’s intention to institute disciplinary measure against you in terms of the disciplinary code and all other relevant prescripts in the public service for the following serious allegations: You committed fraud in that the Grade 12 certificate that you submitted to the employer and or used to secure your appointment in the public service is not genuine/obtained through fraudulent means."

Meanwhile Kupelo alleged that Manana scored his job as a result of nepotism due to his proximity to the then former health MEC. 

He also charged that the director hired his niece as his personal assistant. 

The department said Qwase would be the interim spokesperson. 

* Additional reporting by Malibongwe Dayimani.

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