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Reinstated North West health boss suspended again

North West health department head Thabo Lekalakala has been suspended again.
North West health department head Thabo Lekalakala has been suspended again.

North West health department has suspended head of department Dr Thabo Lekalakala for the second time, saying his presence at work will interfere with the smooth running of the disciplinary process.

Lekalakala has been charged with procurement irregularities for his involvement in the Gupta-linked Mediosa company and misrepresentation of facts after he stated that he had worked as chief director.

According to reports, he had paid Mediosa R30m upfront for a mobile clinic.

These were however part of the charges levelled against Lekalakala when he was first suspended in April.

He was then returned to work a day after his suspension lapsed, and then placed on special leave.

On Monday, Lekalakala showed up at work ready to tackle his duties only to be confronted with resentment from the workers who wanted him fired.

His reinstatement was as a result of the arbitration verdict by the public health and social development sectoral bargaining council on November 8.

On Thursday, Health MEC Magome Masike said the nature of the charges against Lekalakala were such that it was going to be difficult to continue with the disciplinary process while he was back at work, noting that the reason for his reinstatement was because the department did not follow a proper procedure when suspending him.

“This time around we followed the right procedure and [we] have asked him to stay at home.

This will also be for his own safety and that of the workers as they have expressed their dissatisfaction about his reinstatement," said Masike.

Lekalakala’s disciplinary proceedings are expected to take place on December 11 and 12.

He refused to comment on his second suspension. “I have no comment,” he said before hanging up.

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