Two CEOs are still under investigations months after a spate of infant deaths and a high-level probe by the Office of the Premier into alleged maladministration saw them transferred to other offices.
At least half of Gauteng hospitals are without permanent CEOs, the provincial health department has revealed.
Recently, the Gauteng health department advertised vacancies for 14 hospital CEOs as well as other critical posts. In a statement, the department said it has held recent recruitment drives for CEOs and other critical posts following a pledge by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku to ensure all senior management posts are filled.
Meanwhile, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital deputy CEO Sifiso Maseko who was removed as acting CEO of the facility following accusations of corruption has been cleared of any wrongdoing, say healthcare workers close to the investigation.
But Maseko has not been reinstated in the position of deputy CEO. Instead, “in the public interest and capacity development”, the department says he has been seconded to its department’s central office.
Investigations remain ongoing into two other Gauteng hospital CEOs.
Thelle Mogoerane Hospital CEO Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo was placed on special leave last year after staff reportedly said she ignored their warnings of overcrowding at the facility. This overcrowding was thought to have played a role in the deaths of several babies from Klebsiella pneumonia, a bacterial infection that can be commonly transmitted via unclean medical equipment, the US Centres for Disease Control notes. She has been transferred to the department’s central office pending the finalisation of investigations.
Also being investigated is the CEO of Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital after the Office of the Premier launched a probe into alleged maladministration.
“There were allegations of corruption in the hospital”, explains the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa’s Gauteng Chairperson Simphiwe Gada. “For instance, there was a car wash that was operating in the hospital and it was alleged that the revenue was not going into the coffers of the hospital.”
George Mukhari Academic Hospital deputy director of communications Zwide Ndwandwe declined to comment on the specific nature of allegations but confirmed that the matter was still being investigated.
In 2017, a ministerial task team investigation into the state of public hospitals found that the high number of people in acting positions at state hospitals created instability within management and contributed to poor service delivery.
Meanwhile, two other senior positions at the Gauteng health department’s central office are also being filled by acting officers — the chief director of supply chain management and the director of human resource administration — after officeholders were suspended less than six months ago for gross insubordination.
In a statement, the MEC committed to filling all senior management posts to help stabilise healthcare management — something also mentioned in Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province Address. In his February speech, Makhura said that the state of Gauteng’s healthcare system was receiving high-level attention in the province and nationally.
“The financial and structural challenges facing the public healthcare system are receiving the utmost attention of the provincial executive council and national Cabinet”, he said.
“I have heard many stories… from citizens who have gone into health facilities never hoping to come out alive. This is an area of profound challenges in terms of service delivery and needs to be fixed now.”