Special Tribunal halts pension payment to former NW health boss, orders SIU to finalise investigation

Dr Thabo Lekalakala.
Dr Thabo Lekalakala.
Reginald Kanyane
  • The Special Tribunal has halted a pension payment of about R2 million to former North West department boss, Thabo Lekalakala. 
  • The application was brought by the SIU, which is investigating allegations of financial irregularities during Lekalakala's tenure.  
  • The tribunal has ordered the SIU to finalise the investigation within 60 days.  

The Special Tribunal has granted an order interdicting the payment of a pension benefit of about R2 million to former North West health department boss Thabo Lekalakala, pending an investigation into tender irregularities. 

The tribunal has, however, ordered the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to fast track and complete the investigation within 60 days. 

In her ruling, Judge Thina Siwendu said: "It is ordered that the second and third respondent (the government employee pension fund and government pensions administration agency) be retrained and interdicted from paying out the entire pension benefit portion held by the second and/or third respondents and standing to the Pension Fund credit of the first respondent pending the action to be instituted by the applicants against the first respondent in the Special Investigating Unit, Special Tribunal."

READ | SIU wants former North West health boss's pension frozen pending probe of Gupta-linked deal

The SIU had approached the tribunal in an effort to halt the payment, pending investigations. 

Irregularities 

The SIU is looking into the tender irregularities involving Buthelezi Emergency Medical Services (Buthelezi EMS).

It has also made an application for the controversial mobile clinic tender, dubiously awarded to the Gupta-aligned company Mediosa, to be included in their investigation. 

Mediosa was allegedly awarded a R30 million, three-year contract, by the health department, in advance, and without it going out to tender, News24 previously reported.

Lekalakala was suspended on allegations of financial irregularities pertaining to his alleged involvement in the Mediosa scandal.

He then faced a disciplinary inquiry, which found him guilty of gross negligence.

READ HERE | Covid-19: Govt and AG to monitor relief fund closely - Ramaphosa

He was later dismissed. 

However, the SIU launched an investigation on a different tender and approached the tribunal on the basis that payment of his pension funds should be halted.

In August last year, Lekalakala was arrested, along with former North West Finance MEC Wendy Nelson, in relation to his "irregular" appointment as the head of the health department in 2014.

READ | Proclamation to investigate irregularities in Covid-19 relief fund at advanced stage, says SIU

Lekalakala allegedly provided false information - but, despite this, was still recommended for the post.

They were each released on R20 000 bail.

Again, in December, Lekalakala was charged with fraud and corruption related to the Mediosa contract, City Press reported.  Lekalakala was released on R5 000 bail.

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