Maverick Citizen

GAUTENG DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH 

HR official suspended as row over Chris Hani Baragwanath CEO appointment heats up

HR official suspended as row over Chris Hani Baragwanath CEO appointment heats up
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

Following concerns raised by workers and the HR department regarding the appointment of Dr Nthabiseng Makgana as the Chief Executive Officer of Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, an HR official has been suspended and a prominent figure within Gauteng’s health department comes under scrutiny. 

In the wake of concerns raised by workers and the HR department regarding the appointment of Dr Nthabiseng Makgana as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), new developments have emerged, casting further shadows over the hospital’s administration.

Two sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have informed Daily Maverick that a key HR official at the hospital has been placed on precautionary suspension following media queries about the correspondence by the HR department of CHBAH to the Gauteng Health Department (GDOH) and Deputy Director-General of Corporate Services noting concerns about Makgana’s senior management level experience and MBA qualifications.

Read in Daily Maverick: Red flags raised over disputed credentials of new Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital CEO

While the official suspension letter, which Daily Maverick has seen, cites “serious acts of misconduct” and “violation of HR management protocols”, sources say there are suspicions that the suspended HR official may have leaked documents related to Dr Makgana’s appointment to Daily Maverick.

Speaking about the acting HR  director who raised concerns about Makgana’s appointment, a worker who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal said “Instead of answering your questions and dealing with Makgana’s appointment, they are now going on a witch hunt. The MEC (Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko) is starting to threaten people and she was supposed to suspend the person who was acting as the director of HR because he was the one who wrote the letter to the MEC querying all these discrepancies about the CEO, not the person who was reporting to him”.

Public Service Commission finds faults in Baloyi’s appointment 

Basani Baloyi is presently employed as Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services in the Gauteng Department of Health and was copied in the correspondence from the HR department regarding the appointment of Makgana.

In March 2023, the Public Service Commission (PSC) received an allegation about the irregular appointment of Baloyi. The investigation scope of the PSC was to establish the regularity of the process followed by the department filling the post, and whether Baloyi met the educational and experience requirements of the post.

The recommendations and directions from the PSC were that:

  • The MEC should approach the Labour Court to set aside the decision to appoint Baloyi.
  • The department’s Labour Relations / Human Resource section should approach its Legal Services section for assistance in referring the matter to the Office of the State Attorney (“the OSA”), and the OSA will assist the department in instituting the review proceedings.
  • In the interest of good governance, the Department should inform the employee of its intended action in order to afford the employee an opportunity to prepare himself/herself.
  • The MEC should institute review proceedings without delay.

The PSC also recommended that the department urgently finalise the organisational structure in consultation with the Premier’s office and the Department of Public Services and Administration, and the head of the department should consider reviewing the recruitment and selection policy of the department to strengthen the issue of the headhunting process.

Basani Baloyi

Former Office of the Public Protector COO Basani Baloyi is now Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services in the Gauteng Department of Health. (Photo: Supplied)

“The revision should focus on how the head-hunting process should be conducted. The Department should also establish a standard operating procedure to assist this process in order to promote good human resource practices in the Department, as well as to prevent future irregularities in the recruitment and selection processes,” read the minutes.

The PSC also recommended that corrective action be taken against the former Acting HoD and HR representative employees who were supporting the panel members, for failing to provide proper and accurate advice during the recruitment and selection process of the Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services. The GDoH has yet to confirm the progress on these recommendations.

Organised labour wants accountability over hospital suspensions, appointments

Organised labour, represented by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), has weighed in on the suspension of the HR official Lindiwe Mazibuko and the significant role played by Baloyi in the disciplinary action as she is the official who signed off on the suspension.

In an email sent to Baloyi on 13 May, Cosatu expressed deep concern over the circumstances surrounding Mazibuko’s suspension, particularly the involvement of Baloyi.

The email criticises the suspension of Mazibuko by Baloyi referencing minutes from the PSC regarding the appointment of Baloyi to argue that she (Baloyi) does not have the delegated power to suspend Mazibuko and that the decision constitutes bullying and abuse of power.

“We wish to bring to your attention that we are aware of the Chapter 10 institution (Public Service Commission) where it found and directed that your appointment should be reversed as you are in the same situation with Dr Makgana (CEO of Bara Hospital). You must know that we shall pursue that the directive of PSC is implemented, and you are instructed to pay back all the money received in your capacity as DDG-Corporate Services of Gauteng Health,” read the email.

At the time of publication, Mazibuko was still suspended and Cosatu had not received a response to their email.

A worker at the hospital who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal said organised labour at the hospital vows to continue efforts to remove Baloyi from her position and reverse any decisions made during her tenure.

“Now they are trying to divide us as organised labour, the MEC has now turned one of the unions against the other and we are no longer talking with one voice, but we won’t allow this to continue,” he said.

The worker also stressed the importance of employees being able to carry out their contractual duties without fear of reprisal.

“We as the people who are working in the institutions, we can’t just sit back and watch. We can’t allow corruption to take place under our watch. If our workers (organised labour) apply for positions that they don’t qualify for we tell them bluntly that they do not qualify,  but when it comes to senior officials the opposite happens, what precedent are these people setting?” questioned the worker.

Daily Maverick sent questions to GDOH on 14 May and had not received a response at the time of publication. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Ryckard Blake says:

    Is Lindiwe Mazibuko the “Two-Tons in Blue” we know and used to love?
    Under what circumstances, and how long ago, did the Public get relieved from the Protection of the scary-looking Basani Baloyi?
    Can the author provide readers with a summary of Nthabiseng Makgan’s work experience, previous employment, and helpful connections? Maybe a pic?

    • Erika Bostock says:

      How intensely disrespectful your reference to Lindiwe Mazibuko is! How about referring to her as ‘Lindiwe Mazibuko, previously from the DA’ instead? Why the need to denigrate her?

      • Indeed Jhb says:

        Sorry Erica, I do not agree with you. The reference conjured up in my mind an intelligent self assured young lady, with tons of energy, passion and reason giving anybody a piece of her mind clearly, well structured on the dot – and she is sadly missed. If you saw anything else

      • Ryckard Blake says:

        “Previously from the DA” shows double-disrespect. You may report me, and ask why I was not blocked by three comment-moderators.
        I like to see pics of my newsmakers, and would defend “body-shaming”; as a slob of 33 BMI, I expect more self-discipline from any seeking to lead. Even without LM, the front bench of the DA is looking more and more like the Front Row of the Free State scrum, in the days of Os and Ollie.
        So, what’s your answer to my Q? The very same Lindiwe?

    • David C says:

      Nope – not the same Lindiwe. That…ahem…larger than life individual works for some crowd called “Apolitical Academy”.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    Every person and department that get included in sorting this out, adds 6 month each to how long this will take to get sorted out.

  • Gavin Knox says:

    Can anyone with a smidgen of imagination actually see any member of the current politburo sitting in this hospital waiting to see a medical person?
    With their new vision of health people, this NHI, I definitely can’t see it.
    Never. … Ever.

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