Mediosa debacle: Suspension of North West health HOD extended

Dr Thabo Lekalakala. (Reginald Kanyane, City Press)
Dr Thabo Lekalakala. (Reginald Kanyane, City Press)

The North West health department on Wednesday extended the suspension of its head of department Dr Andrew Thabo Lekalakala. 

Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane confirmed the extension to News24, saying it would allow the investigation into Lekalakala to be completed. 

"Charges against him were delayed since more [things] kept coming up during investigations. All these necessitated to the extension of his suspension," Lekgethwane said. 

He said following the completion of the department's inquiry, charges would be instituted against Lekalakala and disciplinary action would then take place. 

Earlier on Wednesday, health officials protested outside the health department's offices against Lekalakala's return, whose initial suspension had ended. 

READ: North West legislature lays charges against health HOD over contract to Gupta-linked company

Lekgethwane said the officials blocked entrances to the offices with stones and other objects. 

"The MEC and administrator had to meet with the officials and explain to them that processes to extend Lekalakala's suspension were unfolding as investigations would be concluded," Lekgethwane said. 

Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo suspended Lekalakala in April over a contract given to Gupta-linked healthcare company Mediosa.

Mediosa, which also paid for Lekalakala's junket to India in 2017, was allegedly awarded a R30m, three-year contract by the health department in advance and without it going out to tender.

Mahumapelo at the time had instituted forensic investigations into the health department following allegations against Lekalakala regarding the Mediosa contract.

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