The Gauteng Health Department has paid its top legal head R4.7 million to stay at home since July 2019.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Mokgethi, Advocate Lebeloane Mpelegeng is Chief Director: Legal Services, but was told to stay at home following a Public Service Commission report on her appointment that found irregularities in her transfer from the Department of Water and Sanitation.
The PSC recommended that the department apply to the Labour Court “without delay” to set aside her transfer to the Department.
The Department made the application to the Labour Court on 18 November 2020, but Mpelegeng opposed it.
Mokgethi says that the Court Registrar has indicated that a date for this matter will only be set in 2023, and “The Department wants to see the matter concluded as speedily as possible, however, remains constrained by the Court’s processes which are outside the Department’s control.”
Meanwhile, there is an acting person in her job, and she has been paid R4 681 700 for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2022.
This is an enormous sum of money to pay for a botched appointment.
It could have paid for 10 senior nurses for a year at our understaffed hospitals.
Lebeloane has a chequered history with the Department – she was former Health MEC Gwen Ramokhopa’s personal assistant when she was fired in January 2006 for misusing state property, but was later absolved on appeal. When Ramokgopa returned as Health MEC in February 2017, she recruited Lebeloane to get her buddy back into the department.
The PSC investigated Lebeloane after complaints about her high-handed management style.
I am appalled that the department’s mismanagement has wasted so much money that should be used to provide better care for hospital patients.
I will continue to expose the appointments of buddies in this department and the protection of cadres like the suspended Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi.
The DA’s policy of a merit-based public service is needed to fix this ailing department.