Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) registrar and CEO, Dr David Motau, has been placed on precautionary suspension – for the second time in a matter of weeks – by Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla.
In a statement, the HPCSA said Motau’s suspension came into effect on Wednesday, pending an investigation allegations of misconduct.
The HPCSA said the move to suspend Motau was to maintain the integrity of the council, adding that it would make a final decision upon the conclusion of its investigation.
“[The] council will attend to this matter with necessary caution, prudence and due diligence. Once the findings and recommendations of the investigation have been concluded, [we] will consider them and make a final decision on the way forward,” the statement read.
According to HPCSA president Professor Simon Nemutandani, Phaahla is expected to appoint an acting registrar and CEO to fill Motau’s role.
The HPCSA executive was previously placed on precautionary suspension earlier this month by current Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, who was then acting health minister, following his arrest.
However, his suspension was later reversed.
Motau, who was appointed as the HPCSA registrar and CEO in June 2021, was arrested on 2 August in relation to his tenure as head of the Free State health department.
It is alleged that Motau is one of the 13 people who defrauded the provincial department of R8.7 million over a five-year period.
They are facing charges of fraud, forgery, money laundering and corruption.
The HPCSA CEO, alongside his co-accused, have since been granted bail – ranging between R2,000 to R5,000 – after appearing in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on 3 August.
Hawks spokesperson Christopher Singo said at the time that the suspects would appear again on the 22 September.
“It is alleged that during the course of the regulatory audit in the department of health, the audit team from the auditor-general requested information on certain payments to service providers and subsequent to query the procurement processes that were followed.
“As a result, an internal investigation followed whereby it was discovered that false or forged requests for payment advices were submitted during the period of January 2011 until December 2015 for payments. It is further alleged that no evidence could be found whether the actual services were rendered by the service providers,” Singo said in a statement.
Alongside Motau, the other suspects include current Free State health department employees Motsumi Krisjan Polori, 46, and Sarah Kenosi Legobate, 44, as well as now-retired officials Mietjes Johns, 61, Limakatso Catharine Mabitle, 62, Hillary Colleen Kala, 56, and John Motsemme Chakane, 65.
The company directors also implicated in the matter include – John Tsietsi Polori, 50, Thabo Moeti, 39, Mavuso Victor Kwababa, 49, Simon Njonga, 40, Lebohang Beqezi, 37, and Mmalefa Charity Moloi, 39.
Their companies are accused of receiving payments for work that was never delivered.