Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi ducks questions about corruption at Tembisa Hospital
The DA’s Jack Bloom said he suspects Gauteng MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi ‘was part of the cover-up at Tembisa Hospital, because it is linked to senior ANC officials in Gauteng’.
Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi was asked several questions on Tuesday at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature by the DA’s Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloom, about corruption that took place at Tembisa Hospital involving millions of rands spent on personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
Of five questions, Mokgethi answered only one, on why murdered whistle-blower Babita Deokaran’s request for a forensic investigation wasn’t acceded to after she flagged suspicious transactions.
“There was no formal request for a forensic investigation that was tabled,” said Mokgethi.
She dismissed the rest, saying they “fall off” due to her first answer.
“I think that the MEC is being disingenuous by referring to an ‘official’ request for an investigation. According to the evidence in the News24 investigation which is specifically referred to in my question, she [Deokaran] had made the request by email and in WhatsApp messages,” Bloom said.
“Mokgethi also declined to comment on my follow-up question for her to respond to the Sanco [SA National Civic Organisation] statement in June this year that there was corruption at the Tembisa Hospital and that she was allegedly the ‘mastermind’ behind the tender procurement corruption. It is unacceptable that the Health MEC ducks questions and refuses to take accountability in this serious matter,” Bloom said.
Pusetso Morapedi, the director of the Platform to Protect Whistle-blowers in Africa, said leaders like Mokgethi should “build public pressure and movement for the instantaneous investigation and prosecution of perpetrators”, such as those who killed Deokaran.
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“[They should] take it upon themselves to share more information about safe reporting of wrongdoing and the channels to use for protected disclosures, recognising that whistle-blowing can be a matter of life and death.”
Morapedi said it was only on paper that the laws in South Africa were sufficient to protect whistle-blowers.
“We have seen many whistle-blowers who have suffered… extended harms, such as death, blacklisting, bullying, harassment, threats, legal costs and other economic impacts, which are often the hardest to overcome.”
Bloom questioned the MEC’s actions after the death of Deokaran.
“Why did she not ensure that there was a thorough probe of everything that Babita was concerned about before she was murdered by people who wanted to silence her? I suspect that the MEC was part of the cover-up at Tembisa Hospital, because it is linked to senior ANC officials in Gauteng.
“We know, for instance, that Sello Sekhokho, the treasurer-general of the ANC’s Ekurhuleni region, got three tenders worth R2.3-million for overpriced goods at the hospital. Gauteng Premier David Makhura is also delinquent in not ensuring a proper investigation was done a year ago,” said Bloom.
“It is important that politicians do not escape accountability rather than solely blaming errant officials.” DM