How corruption brought the Gauteng Health Department to its knees

How corruption brought the Gauteng Health Department to its knees

- Corruption within the Gauteng Department of Health has amounted to an amount of R1.2 billion

- Former Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa is implicated in an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit

- A consulting company managed to 'capture' the health department and score great perks for itself

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The Gauteng Department of Health is in utter disarray. Briefly.co.za took a look at why the department is such a mess.

Investigating the Gauteng Health Department took 7 years

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigated the Gauteng Health Department and the report was made public on Thursday, 21 June. The investigation took the SIU 7 years to complete. While the investigation was ongoing, the corruption was ongoing.

Executive director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis, feels this helped corrupt officials enjoy exemption from punishment since they are still employed.

According to the report, fraud and corrupt spending by the health department amounted to about R1.2 billion.

Section 27 - a public interest law centre that runs independently from the government - recently gained access to the SIU report.

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This report reveals that a former MEC and senior officials in the health department were investigated for fraud. The names of these people are withheld for legal reasons.

The Gauteng Health Department is in debt of more than R6 billion‚ and the SIU report explains how some money went missing.

The corrupt officials got off easy

The department of health did not report the corrupt officials. Former Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa and about 10 other officials are accused of misconduct.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Corruption Watch, and Section 27 are dead set on bringing these corrupt officials and private business people to justice.

Lewis stated that these events are what state capture looks like. The boldest move made was the appointment of members from a consulting company in important decision-making positions in the department of health.

One such an appointment led to a member having authority to approve payments to the company on behalf of the department.

The TAC, Section 27 and Corruption Watch will now work to see that those involved in the corruption do not continue with their illegal deeds.

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A consulting company 'captured' the health department

In 2008 and 2009, the health department was 'taken over' by private companies and senior officials. In particular, one consulting company (3P Consulting) was hired to help the department work out the best ways to spend its budget, but the company never did this.

Instead, the company asked the department ridiculous fees - like a Department of Health conference that cost more than R1.5 million, when it was possible to do it for R300 000.

This company also billed the department for services twice, as well as charging for work that was never even done.

Furthermore, the company flew a politician around numerous times to places like London, Dubai and Vienna.

The company also:

  • Gave contracts to family and friends of the company directors
  • Gave contracts that had nothing to do with the health department's goals
  • Hired companies on behalf of the health department without having the authority
  • Claimed payment without approval from relevant people
  • Started businesses at the health department's cost

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This company went bankrupt when it didn't work with the department anymore.

Criminal prosecution against the people involved in the corruption is suggested by the SIU.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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