North West Health officials placed on suspension

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The North West Department of Health has suspended four senior officials over allegations of tender irregularities.

Health MEC Madoda Sambatha said two of the officials are directors attached to the Infrastructure Development Technical Support chief directorate, including one director responsible for Infrastructure Planning and another responsible for Infrastructure Delivery.

The directors were suspended on 23 April 2020, due to allegations of irregular payments of departmental funds to service providers arising from a bid for additions and alterations to existing Mmabatho Nursing College, including all related site works.

The principal building agreement for construction works at Mmabatho Nursing College commenced on the 02 November 2015.

 It is alleged that the officials within the Infrastructure Development and Technical Support chief directorate facilitated irregular insertion of the “contract price adjustment Provision”, which resulted in the contractor receiving undue enrichment in payments.

“The value estimated on this one amounts to R10 959 472 35, excluding VAT of adjustment/ escalation. This followed a preliminary investigation,” said the MEC at a media briefing on Wednesday.

The other two senior officials, including the department’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a director responsible for Supply Chain Management (SCM), were also suspended on 8 May 2020, due to allegations of irregularities at SCM arising from a security tender.

“The appointment letter of the successful bidders allegedly contained the prices which materially varied from what those bidders had bid for thus inflating prices and causing the department serious financial loss. The value of the financial loss is not yet known, as investigations are to start after their suspension,” Sambatha said.

The suspensions are intended to allow the department to investigate the allegations, which are of a serious nature.

 12 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive

Sambatha also gave an update on recent developments pertaining to COVID-19 in the province.

The MEC announced that a number of employees tested positive for COVID-19, including six employees from the public service and six from private facilities.

“The first were two health professionals in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District in private facilities. One is a 26-year-old male and the other is a 51-year-old male.  The two were managed appropriately according to the guidelines including management of primary contacts.  It is great to announce these two ultimately recovered,” said the MEC.

A 53-year-old male private clinician in Ngaka Modiri Molema District also tested positive. The clinician subsequently received treatment and has recovered.

During level 4 of the lockdown, two health professionals from Promosa in Dr Kenneth Kaunda district were amongst the health professionals who tested positive. 

The two are in isolation facilities and their contacts are being managed appropriately.

In the Ngaka Modiri Molema District, one doctor at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital has also tested positive for COVID-19. 

“The doctor is a 47-year-old male clinician. Line listing of contacts is in progress and management will be done in line with COVID-19 NICD guidelines, Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)  guidelines, occupational health and safety guidelines.”

“The doctor in question and other employees in contact used appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs). Continuous decontamination of the affected units is done as per guidelines. It is for these reasons that the unit will not be closed as the risk level is low for contamination following adherence to safety measures,” Sambatha said.

SAPS officers test positive

Furthermore, two police officers from Madibeng and Matlosana have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sambatha said the Madibeng patient who is in a stable condition, has been isolated, pending transfer to a clinic.

The contact listing of the police officer in Matlosana has been completed. The officer is currently isolated in a private facility. 

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