Spotlight published two articles this week on alleged overcharging and tender irregularities involving Buthelezi EMS and the health department in the North West as part of our Health4Sale series of investigative articles. See Part 1 here, and Part 2here.
Next week we will be turning the spotlight on Buthelezi EMS in the Free State.
Motsoaledi last night told Spotlight that he wrote to the Minister of Finance to request that the Chief Procurement Officer at National Treasury investigates the procurement of services from both Buthelezi EMS and the Gupta-linked Mediosa (also known as Cureva) in both the Free State and North West.
Motsoaledi stressed that the Treasury investigation is specifically into the procurement processes and suspected corruption. He also confirmed that the investigation has already started.
In terms of medical need, Motsoaledi said that there is no debate at all and that Buthelezi EMS and Mediosa are not adding value and that they are in fact causing more problems. He also said that it is not national policy to use private service providers for emergency medical services.
“On my side as health there is nothing to investigate in terms of whether it is serving the health needs etc,” he said.
“It is very clear, as clear as daylight, that we do not need this type of service.”
A new tender for outsourced private ambulances in the Free State was advertised in October 2017. Spotlight however understands that the award of that tender has been delayed and that Buthelezi EMS continues to be paid on a month-to-month basis.
Motsoaledi told Spotlight that he is in daily contact with Free State MEC for Health Butana Komphela about the situation. “I told him it is wrong for them to privatise ambulance services. They must run them on their own.
“The plan from my side is that Treasury after this investigation must make a clear ruling that the procurement of private ambulance services should not happen,” he said.
Motsoaledi indicated that a Section 100 intervention whereby the Provincial Departments of Health in Free State and North West would be placed under national administration was not currently being considered. He explained that under Section 100 the political leaders in the province stays in place and that national assumes responsibility without authority. He referred to his experience when the Limpopo Department of Health was under Section 100 administration. In that case four provincial heads of department that various National Ministers believed should be removed were not removed because only the premier of the province had the authority to remove them.
“In Limpopo we were only able to stabilise the finances because of Treasury, but the human resources we could not touch because that authority does not lie with us,” he said.
The Head of the North West Department of Health Thabo Lekalakala, implicated in Spotlight’s two-part investigation into emergency medical services in the province, was suspended yesterday by the embattled North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. Previously Mahumapelo had refused to heed Motsoaledi’s call to suspend him, placing him on special leave. DM
While Spotlight is published by SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign, its editors have full editorial independence – independence that the editors guard jealously. Spotlight is a member of the South African Press Council
In other news...
South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.
On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.
And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.
However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.
If you believe in supporting the cause and the work of Daily Maverick then take your position on the battleground and sign up to Maverick Insider today.
For whatever amount you choose, you can support Daily Maverick and it only takes a minute.
Terry Pratchett forged his own sword from iron and meteorites purely for the occasion of the awarding of his knighthood.