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Mokonyane yesterday announced that MEC for agriculture and rural development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza will take over the department of social development from April 1.
Mayathula-Khoza will head both departments but they have not been merged. Each department will have its own head, who will be answerable to Mayathula-Khoza.
"... (This is) as part of our intervention to turn around the department of health and social development and ensure the effective functioning of the department," Mokonyane said yesterday.
"Our contention is that there is a strong synergy between the department of social development and that of agriculture and rural development since both play a strategic role in poverty alleviation and food security."
Mokonyane stressed that action was being taken about the back payment of suppliers.
Suppliers were owed millions of rands, which has led to medicine shortages in hospitals across the province.