Gauteng health MEC accused of lying and complicitly closing down NGOs

The NGOs said the MEC lied when she said they had been paid today, as the premier confirmed they would be paid on Friday.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has this afternoon told the legislature the 149 NGOs yet to be paid will receive their payments, but will have to be forced to be compliant before payments are effected.

This follows a court case brought against health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa for contempt of court for failing to pay San Michele Home in Brakpan, in Ekurhuleni, a sum of about R2 million.

When confronted by the media this morning, Dr Ramokgopa told Radio 702 and San Michelle administrator Marius Bosman that the NGOs “were paid” after receiving confirmation from acting head of department Dr Ernest Kenoshi that payment for NGOs had been processed.

Bernard Barker, the chairperson of San Michele, said the MEC was lying, as there was a vast difference between “internal memo of authorisation” and proof of payment as presented to the court. Barker said that although they got a reprieve, he was worried about smaller NGOs in townships.

“San Michelle had to send food to an NGO in Tembisa. I am sure there are many more in the same situation. We are gonna get money, but what about NGOs who don’t have the ability to challenge the department in court,” Barker asked.

Barker also said the biggest lie the MEC had told so far was that, when implemeting the new requirements for the registration of NGOs, in line with the health ombudsman’s recommendation, NGOs and other stakeholders were consulted, and they acceded to the new licence conditions.

READ MORE: Gauteng health budget will be depleted by December, warns DA

Barker said Ramokgopa’s statement that the process began in January was misleading – the first time NGOs were issued with a list of requirements was on June 20 and 21 when all funded NGOs received a list of requirements.

“Licences had expired in March. We have never had a set of requirements, the first time was issued was 21st of June 2017. The licences were simply issued by the department. They were issued beginning of each financial year, the whole thing was done internally,” Barked argued.

Barker’s version of events was corroborated by Michelle Immelman of Vita Nova in Springs, who said that was an annual occurrence during the beginning of each financial year when the department only made payments to NGOs in June, and that could no longer be acceptable.

“No, we haven’t received payments, and only got notification that the payment will be done on the 30th of June. We have’t paid for our food, our electricity and all other bills. We need our money every month with no excuses,” said Immelman.

Gauteng health portfolio committee chairperson, in an emailed statement to The Citizen, said at a “recent meeting…held recently with NGOs housing mentally ill users there were concerns raised by the NGOs with regard to their delayed issuing of renewed licences” and the committee condemned the delay.

Dr Kenoshi, who was appointed in an acting capacity after the previous accounting officer was suspended over the Life Esidimeni saga, and Khutso Rabothata, the MEC’s spokesperson, failed to respond to queries.


For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter

Read more on these topics

gauteng health health MEC

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits