New Bara CEO ready for daunting challenge

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto has a new chief executive.
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto has a new chief executive.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Dr Nkele Lesia is salivating at the daunting challenge of running the third biggest hospital in the world which finds itself often in the news for the wrong reasons.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital went for three years without a permanent chief executive before the appointment of Lesia.

Yesterday, Sowetan spoke to Lesia, 59, who's expected to move into her new office next week.

Lesia, who had been the CEO at the Far East Rand Hospital in Springs, Ekurhuleni, for the past two years, said she is looking forward to making a huge difference in her new position.

"It is daunting but I'm excited because I like challenges," Lesia.

"As a person you need to grow out of your comfort zone. For me it's about serving and trying to make a difference."

Lesia's appointment is a big shift from running a 311 bed facility to now having to tackle the challenges of managing SA's biggest academic hospital with 3,400 beds.

Lesia is taking over the position after the hospital's previous acting CEO Dr Sifiso Maseko stepped down in August following allegations of mismanagement and corruption which resulted in unions staging protest marches at the hospital, situated in Diepkloof, Soweto. She said her first priority was to repair internal relations among staff and inspire a higher morale at the hospital.

"You can't begin to function if internally you are not serving each other. If you can't get that right, you can't even begin to render services," she said.

Lesia said she was also aware that the hospital also faced major challenges such as limitation of resources and hoped to tackle that.

Born in GaMphahlele village in Limpopo, Lesia qualified as a medical doctor in 1984 at the Sefako Makgato Health Sciences University (formerly Medunsa).

Yesterday, head of hospital services at the Gauteng department of health Dr Medupi Modisane said they were confident Lesia would take the institution to new heights.

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