Hon NJ Nkwanyana, MPL
The Inkatha Freedom Party welcomes the budget of almost R33 billion allocated to the KZN Department of Health for the 2015/2016 Financial Year.
In welcoming this budget, we want to caution the MEC and his Department that this amount is far from sufficient to meet the challenges that face our province. I say this against the backdrop of increasing staff shortages coupled with shortages in the supply of medicines and medical equipment. Therefore the funds allocated to this department need to be managed in a manner that will ensure that the people of our province receive maximum benefit. Improving the health of our people will ensure that they lead better lives and become more productive.
Having said that, Madame Speaker I must hasten to add that from my experience it will easier said than done. Whilst we agree that the National Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi is doing a good job unfortunately he is being let down by MEC Dhlomo and this department. As harsh as that may sound, it is the reality. Allow me to explain.
Dinangwe, ’till today we haven’t heard anything about the dodgy dealings around the R61 million mobile clinic tender. We want to know how Mzansi Lifecare and Mobile Satellite Technologies won tenders to provide four mobile health units to the department, but only two of the units have been delivered. Your HOD, Dr Sibongile Zungu and the supply chain at the department must tell us how the tender was approved, since Mzansi Lifecare was registered just 17 days before the department published a request for the supply of universal mobile units.
Again on this issue Dinangwe, we want to know how the bid evaluation committee and the bid adjudication committee reached the conclusion that Mzansi Lifecare’s bid was the best one, and how many companies submitted bids to provide the mobile hospital units. To prove that there is corruption in this matter is the admission by Mobile Satellite Technologies that it did not know that it had won the tender for three vehicles because it had been asked to provide just one vehicle. This is clear indication that there tender and procurement regulations are being violated and in the process the department, and in turn the people of this province are being defrauded. We cannot allow this to continue while our people are crying out for better health care.
Madame Speaker, while on the issue of wasteful expenditure and dubious conduct by senior officials of this department, the Hon MEC Dhlomo must please tell us more about the appointment of a consultant who has been employed by the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department since 2010 and has earned more than President Jacob Zuma, bagging at least R15 million over the past five years. Here I’m speaking about one Shabeer Ahmed Essa who was appointed again by the department with the approval of Dr Sibongile Zungu on a two-year contract in August 2010 with Shabeer Ahmed Essa trading as “Financial Excellence” that would, according to page five of the contract, see Essa being paid R274 165 a month. A new 2013 two-year contract signed by Dr Zungu on 29 October of that year confirms that the previous contract was extended, meaning that Essa was paid at least a total of R9,87 million over the three-year period.
The MEC must tell this House what special skills and expertise this Mr Essa has that the department can justify such an exorbitant salary. Do we not have capable people within the department who can perform those duties? If not, what is the department doing about skilling officials with a view to reducing the financial burden that this department can least afford? What do we say to people who are suffering in pain while they have to wait for weeks on end because some machine is not working and the department does not have money to repair or replace it, but here we have a person earning R274 165 a month. This borders on criminal and it must be stopped. The department must be reminded that in the 2014/15 Adjusted Budget its equitable share was reduced by R1.769 million because of the previous year’s irregular expenditure that could not be justified.
Madame Speaker, on February 26 this year, the IFP visited Stanger Hospital after claims of negligence and poor treatment of patients. After our visit I raised my concerns about what was happening at that hospital. There was nothing sinister about my visit; it was done in the interest of patients and staff. But instead of commending my interest and offering to look into those concerns, the MEC informed the public that he intended to lodge a complaint to the KZN Provincial Legislature Speaker Lydia Johnson about my visit. I do not know if the complaint was lodged and on what grounds or if it was just an idle threat to evade the real issues. But if the complaint was lodged I’m sure that the Speaker would have educated Dr Dhlomo that MPs and MPLs are doing their jobs and that they are not intruders or trespassers on his private property.
Kulona loludaba Dinangwe wangibambisa udonga ngokuthi uzongibuyisela izimpendulo zemibuzo engayihloma kubaphathi basesibhedlela kodwa waqoma ukuthi ungihambe ngemumva unyonyobe nabezindaba uyobamba isithangami ngasese esbhedlela eStanger ube uthe kimi uzongibuyisela izimpendulo. Ngabe ziphi ngqongqoshe izimpendulo zami na? Ngabe iziphi izinyathelo osuzithathile ukulungisa isimo eStanger Hospital?
Staying on financial matters, Hon Speaker, MEC Dhlomo owes us some answers about the dubious appointment of the CFO in his department, Mr Ndoda Biyela. How did it come about that Mr Biyela, who was suspended as Chief Financial Officer of the Gauteng Department of Health in August last year, following allegations of irregularities relating to procurement processes be appointed in KZN without the approval of the MEC? The MEC must tell us what is the status of that appointment and what are the financial implications to the department? What action has been taken against those who appointed him?
Ngqongqoshe uma ufuna ukuphepha ekugxekweni amaqembu ezombusazwe aphikisayo kuleNdlu mayelana nezinto ezimbi ezenzeka emnyangweni wakho nezigcina zikwenza njengomuntu ongesiye umholi oqotho iqembu leNkatha linxusa ukuthi ungambuyiseli uDr Sibongile Zungu ekubeni inhloko yomnyango. uDr Zungu akahambe ashone asimfuni nokumbona njengenhloko yomnyango wezempilo. Nginxusa ukuba uma sekuqokwa inhloko entsha yomnyango wezempilo kuqokwe umuntu ongcono kunoDr Zungu. uDr Zungu usiqedile isithunzi sakho Dinangwe kanye nomnyango uqobo ngenxa yemikhuba yakhe abeyenza yokufaka abantu ezikhundleni nokukhipha amathenda engayilandelile imigomo efanele. Sithi ndlelanhle kuDr Zungu siyabadabukela lapho eyosebenza khona.
As the IFP we want to know from MEC Dhlomo about what is the outcome of the investigation for allegations of mismanagement and corruption that were levelled against Dr Sibongile Zungu by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union? I asked this because Premier Senzo Mchunu appointed an inquiry headed by Professor Fikile Ndaki and Mimie Memka to investigate the allegations in December last year but we have heard nothing since then. This is a serious matter because the acrimonies between the MEC and his HOD have caused huge damage to the morale of the senior members of staff, and it is being felt on the ground.
This is evident from a recent incident at King Edward VIII hospital where nurses were photographed holding a meeting, instead of attending to patients arriving by ambulance at the hospital’s emergency department. We would like to know what action was taken against those nurses. There was also the serious allegation of five people, including a government employee, who were arrested for the alleged selling of corpses at King Edward VIII Hospital. The question is what other dubious activities are going on at our health care centres and what is being done to put a stop to them?
Honourable MEC, there is a lot that must improve in your department. Staff morale in our hospitals and clinics is low for reasons including the culture shock and/or the dehumanisation of being labelled a “human resource” not a person (what happened to Ubuntu?) and for many patients isibhedlela is a lonely, overwhelming and frightening experience. Hence, if staff are not supported or institutions are understaffed neither group – like overwhelmed first year students – copes or does the job properly.
I thank you.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana, 078 302 991