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'Mediosa a flop from the beginning'

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi inspects a mobile clinic belonging to the Gupta-linked Mediosa.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi inspects a mobile clinic belonging to the Gupta-linked Mediosa.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

A former employee of Gupta-linked company Mediosa, which was paid millions by two provincial health departments to provide mobile healthcare in rural areas, says the project never really got off the ground.

Eastern Cape-born dental hygienist Thandokazi Yawa said since Mediosa started operating in June, it had been one struggle after another to deliver the primary healthcare services.

"We would borrow panados and antibiotics from a state pharmacy just so that we don't reject the sick," said Yawa, who is from Komani.

However, Mediosa spokeswoman Michelle Barnes said the company had not been allowed to offer its own medicine by the provincial health departments.

"We had an arrangement with both provincial departments to get medicine from them. It is not like we were experiencing a shortage or anything. They didn't allow us to dispense our own medicine," she said yesterday.

Thandokazi Yawa
Thandokazi Yawa

The project fell under the North West and Free State health departments.

North West department of health spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane dismissed Barnes' claim and said a forensic probe into Mediosa had uncovered it was taking medicine from government but was not supposed to.

The Free State department of health could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Yawa was among 160 people who worked for the company.

She was among 80 who were stationed at Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati Municipality in Vryburg, North West province, hired by the company to do community work. But Yawa said they had failed dismally at that.

"We were only screening patients and referring those who needed help to state clinics and hospitals," said Yawa.

She said another 80 workers were based in the Free State province and meant to offer the same service.

Barnes confirmed the company had 160 field workers.

It was reported that Mediosa charged the departments R954 per person.

"We were instructed to meet a target of 25000 patients over three years in the North West. A similar instruction was given to the Free State workers," said Yawa.

Mediosa made headlines when it was revealed through the leaked Gupta e-mails that it had been paid R30-million by the North West government before the project started on June 19 last year.

Yawa said the company had failed to pay their salaries for March and April.

Barnes confirmed the non-payment of salaries, saying it was because the two provincial governments owed them.

Mediosa is under business rescue as it cannot meet its financial obligations.

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