A team of MECs has been appointed by North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to deal with the issues at the centre of the ongoing strike by members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), his office confirmed on Thursday.
Nehawu members are on a now month-long strike over the awarding of a R180m contract to Gupta-linked company Mediosa.
The office of the premier instituted forensic investigations into allegations of procurement irregularities in the contract, but investigators apparently experienced setbacks as they have been unable to access documents and information in the premises of the department of health, his office had said.
Mahumapelo's spokesperson Brian Setswambung on Thursday said the premier had appointed a team of MECs to work with the provincial health and social development departments as part of his intervention.
The three-member team will be led by education and sport development MEC Sello Lehari, who Setswambung said is also a "leader of government business", and Mahumapelo will be given weekly progress reports.
Government 'making excuses'
"I have full confidence in the ability of the team to resolve issues and emerge with a long-lasting solution," Mahumapelo said in a statement.
He called on striking workers to return to work while the issues were being resolved through the intervention team.
On Wednesday, the department's director-general, Keneilwe Sebego, said that the sooner issues between the department and the union are resolved, the sooner investigators will be able to conclude their work.
But Nehawu provincial secretary Patrick Makhafane denied that the strike action could have affected the investigations, saying that blaming it was "an excuse to run away from the allegations."
"How can we prevent management from gaining access to their offices? They know where the documents are," he said on Wednesday.