The head of the North West health department, Dr Thabo Lekalakala, has been placed on precautionary suspension.
Lekalakala is facing allegations of procurement irregularities and misrepresentation.
Investigations are under way into his role in Gupta-linked company Mediosa’s receipt of a R30 million advance from the department before it started operating mobile clinics in the province.
Earlier this year, the provincial health department was placed under section 100 (1) (b) of the constitution following a Cabinet decision after violent protests rocked the province.
Mediosa is reported to have sent Lekalakala, his wife and a friend on a five-star trip to India.
Lekalakala’s precautionary suspension follows his return to work on November 19 after an arbitration outcome nullified his special leave.
“The precautionary suspension is based on the nature and seriousness of allegations levelled against him, as well as the ongoing disciplinary hearing which is scheduled for December 11 and 12,” said departmental spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.
“The precautionary suspension is also necessitated by a need to avoid possible interference with disciplinary processes and service delivery. This is in terms of Chapter 7 of the Senior Management Handbook,” said Lekgethwane.
The North West provincial government recently announced the suspension of two chief directors for their role in alleged irregular payments to a service provider.
A report from the auditor-general of South Africa found that the payments amounted to more than twenty times the initial contract agreement.
The contract agreement between the office of the premier and IT company NEPO Data Dynamics was for R12 million over three years, but more than R240 million was allegedly paid to the service provider.
Investigations are under way across various departments in the province.