DA lauds move to act against health officials

The DA in Gauteng has welcomed Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's disclosure in a parliamentary reply yesterday of the special investigations unit being instructed to prosecute officials in the province who have been implicated in wrongful activities by a forensic report.

The DA in Gauteng has welcomed Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's disclosure in a parliamentary reply yesterday of the special investigations unit being instructed to prosecute officials in the province who have been implicated in wrongful activities by a forensic report.

Motsoaledi also said the recovery of assets would be pursued and disciplinary action taken against the implicated officials.

"National Treasury commissioned the report in August last year because the department was grossly overspending its goods and services budget. The department failed to address concerns by the auditor-general and was spending R1billion on consultants," said Jack Bloom of the DA in the Gauteng legislature.

Bloom said many contracts allowed for payment to consultants before services were delivered, and in some cases contracts were awarded and payments made for uncompleted projects.

Bloom said in one case more than R200million was paid for a health information system and a smart-card system that never materialised.

"There also needs to be political accountability, and the role played by former health MEC Brian Hlongwa needs to be thoroughly probed," Bloom said.

The findings revealed, among other things, that:

l The department did not follow proper procurement processes for some contracts.

l Deviations from the procurement processes were not reported to the Gauteng treasury as required by regulations.

l There was prima facie evidence that procedures were bypassed to favour certain contractors and sub-contractors.

l The department's asset register was incomplete and it was unable to account for assets totaling R61,6million.

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