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By Mhlaba Memela | Aug 21, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

INSIDERS say that senior managers in the provincial health department loyal to former MEC Neliswa "Peggy" Nkonyeni are being purged by acting MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Nkonyeni is now a speaker in the legislature, where a source said she was moved after charges of graft were levelled at her.

Dhlomo could not comment yesterday because he was "busy with a private matter", but a senior official rejected the allegations. She said moves were under way to get rid of "lazy officials" but the department was not "targeting individuals".

Sources in the department have accused Dhlomo of targeting senior officials Nkonyeni appointed to strategic positions.

"Some officials who were working closely with Nkonyeni are now redundant in the department because Dhlomo has a hostile approach towards them. He is keen to have his own people move in. But he is playing his cards very close to his chest," said one informant, who asked not to be identified.

Those who were targeted included chief financial officer Sipho Buthelezi, chief operating officer Nhlanhla Nkosi, general manager of infrastructure development Nzenzele Ndlela general manager of supply-chain management Mduduzi Ntshangase and the general manager of corporate communications Leon Mbangwa, a source said.

Buthelezi and Ntshangase left the department to join the provincial treasury a fortnight ago. Ntshangase was facing charges of fraud and corruption with Nkonyeni, but the national prosecuting authority later dropped the case.

Mbangwa is battling the Home Affairs department over allegations that he is not a South African citizen. The IFP submitted a motion in the provincial legislature before the elections claiming that Mbangwa had faked his citizenship papers.

Nkonyeni also came under fire at the time graft charges, which the source said "cost her an MEC post".

Another health staffer said yesterday that Dhlomo "had identified his preferred candidates for the key posts but has no strategy to sack them".

"The MEC wants all the strategic positions to be given to people he trusts. We heard that it's an instruction that comes from above."

Health department head Sibongile Zungu rejected the claims as "malicious".

"Claims that people are being targeted and purged are incorrect. The new government leadership wants delivery and individuals' performances are being monitored closely, "He said.

"Senior managers in the department are under pressure to perform and it's very tough on all of us.

"I know nothing about any purge."

Zungu said the provincial cabinet had decided to move Ntshangase and Buthelezi to the treasury department, not Dhlomo.


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