Desperate bid for new image

unimpressed: Derrick Ngobeni. Pic. Unknown.
unimpressed: Derrick Ngobeni. Pic. Unknown.

IN A desperate but concerted effort to project the department of health and social development as clean, the Limpopo provincial government has embarked on a drive to buy space in newspapers to advertise its cause.

IN A desperate but concerted effort to project the department of health and social development as clean, the Limpopo provincial government has embarked on a drive to buy space in newspapers to advertise its cause.

This saw the department forking out no less than R150000 on two national papers in order to boost its image. But the efforts might come to naught if the Standing Committee on Public Accounts has its way.

The department ran adverts in Sunday's City Press and Tuesday's Sowetanto deny allegations that 80 ambulances had disappeared.

It also denied reports that health MEC Miriam Segabutla and head of the department Jabu Dlamini had recently collapsed after being grilled by Scopa.

But, for the record, this reporter is in possession of official documents from the department that indicate that the ambulances had indeed disappeared.

Dlamini had been on sick leave since she collapsed at work on October 26, a few weeks after her boss, Segabutla, had also collapsed after she allegedly realised that her close friends had engaged in corrupt activities in her department.

Sowetan can reveal that the department had splashed R51662,52 for the Sowetan advert and R121888,80 for theCity Press advert.

Scopa chairperson in the province Derrick Ngobeni yesterday said he did not know what the department was trying to achieve by buying space in the newspapers if they knew they had nothing to hide.

"To start with, the department failed to prove to us that the ambulances were available. I still do not understand why they would engage in cheap publicity stunts to prove a point."

He said it remained to be seen what the auditor-general would come up with from investigations into the department's activities "but I smell a rat".

Efforts to contact the department's spokesperson Selby Makgotho drew a blank.

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