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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Nine Gauteng govt officials implicated in AngloGold hospital ‘irregularities’ suspended

Three senior managers from the province’s health department and six from the infrastructure development department have been served with letters of suspension. 


Nine senior officials from the Departments of Health and Infrastructure Development in Gauteng have been placed on precautionary suspension, following irregularities uncovered in a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Gauteng government said “serious irregularities in the awarding of contractors for the refurbishment of the AngloGold Ashanti Hospital” have been uncovered by the SIU. 

The R500 million 181-bed capacity hospital, built to help alleviate pressure on the province’s healthcare sector inits fight against Covid-19, opened on 14 May last year. 

The mining company donated the hospital, which was meant to have provided ICU beds.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has cried foul since the facility opened, saying only low-level care had been provided to Covid patients. 

ALSO READ: R500m ‘blown’ on AngloGold hospital, and it only has ‘six patients’

DA Gauteng member of the provincial legislature Jack Bloom said in July 2021 none of the beds had oxygen provisions, and was running on a dangerously low staff quotient. 

He said it would have been far better to have spent the R500 million on extra beds and staff at other hospitals, rather than “this white elephant hospital”.

Disciplinary action instituted 

In December 2021, the SIU made referrals to the Gauteng government to institute disciplinary action against the nine senior managers implicated.

The SIU at the time also made referrals to other state institutions for further investigation into the conduct of the implicated government officials and contractors. 

Three senior managers from the province’s health department and six from the infrastructure development department have been served with letters of suspension. 

Disciplinary proceedings will take place as soon as charges are finalised, the statement confirmed. 

ALSO READ: SIU freezes R8 million held by firms hired to refurbish AngloGold hospital

Gauteng government said it had “strengthened control systems to prevent fraud and corruption”, and had also improved “capacity” to investigate and take action against staff. 

“The Gauteng Provincial Government continues to forge ahead with the fight against fraud and corruption and the drive to build a culture of integrity and ethics among public officials, public servants, businesspeople and civil society.” 

SIU’s investigation 

The SIU was granted an order in September last year to freeze R7.9 million held in bank accounts of companies that were irregularly awarded the tenders, namely Pro Serve Consulting and Thenga Holdings. 

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said there was reason to believe the funds held by the companies were the proceeds of unlawful activity. 

ALSO READ: ‘No explanation’ for how R50m hospital tender ballooned to R588m – SIU

The hospital’s refurbishments were not only done irregularly and unlawfully, but also had no approved budget. 

This resulted in an estimated R50 million ballooning to an amount in excess of R500 million. 

In January this year, Pro Serve Consulting and Thenga Holdings applied to the Special Tribunal for a reconsideration of the interim preservation order the SIU obtained in September 2021.

Judge Lebogang Modiba of the Special Tribunal ruled in favour of the SIU and dismissed the companies’ application.

In her 31-page judgment, judge Modiba ordered Thenga to pay the SIU’s costs of filing a replying affidavit to its answering affidavit on the attorney and client scale. 

NOW READ: Firms hired to refurbish AngloGold hospital lose bid to set aside SIU preservation order

Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Charles Cilliers and Thapelo Lekabe.

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