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HPCSA axes top officials

The HPCSA has parted ways with its CEO, COO and head of legal services in light of damning findings by a ministerial task team.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has “parted ways” with its registrar/chief executive officer, chief operations officer and head of legal services. National health department spokesperson Joe Maila told Bhekisisa on Monday that the decision is effective from the end of April.

The announcement comes nearly six months after a ministerial task team investigation revealed that the HPCSA, which regulates the education, training, registration and practice of health professionals, was “in a state of multi-system organisational dysfunction”.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi appointed the task team in March last year following an increase in the number of complaints against HPCSA from individual doctors and industry associations. Several complaints alleged maladministration, irregularities, mismanagement and poor governance at the Council. Over the past decade, the HPCSA has become notorious for taking excessively long to register particularly foreign health professionals in South Africa.

In a report of its findings, the task team recommended that the trio be suspended while disciplinary proceedings were instituted against them.

The registrar, chief operations officer and head of legal services refused to co-operate with the investigation.

Registrar Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba was found to have displayed a lack of leadership, substandard work, as well as possible insubordination for refusing to appear before the task team. Chief operations officer Tshepo Boikanyo “was implicated in acts of unauthorised, irregular and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure”. Phelelani Khumalo, who is the head of legal services, “showed complete disregard for the gravity of the status of the HPCSA”.

In January 2016 the HPCSA told Bhekisisa that it was conducting its own investigation and studying the ministerial task team’s report, and would “then make its own decisions on all matters pertaining to the report”.

When questioned on the progress of the internal investigation, as well as the implementation of the minister’s task team, HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said: “Council is continuously updating [Motsoaledi] on any developments regarding the recommendations made by the task team.”

Ina Skosana was a health reporter at Bhekisisa.