Former health HOD must be held to account for his actions

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The reasons behind the premier’s decision to redeploy health department HOD Richard Mnisi have finally emerged, as the Auditor-General’s audit report paint a damning picture of a department in the throes of financial and administrative chaos while under the leadership of a person completely out of his depth.

According to the AG’s findings in the health department’s 2012/13 annual report, Mnisi contravened a host of financial legislation and treasury regulations, by not implementing systems and control measures to prevent irregular, wasteful and unnecessary expenditure, losses due to criminal conduct, management, maintenance and safeguarding of assets, proper procurement procedures, disclosure of interests of personnel, as well as performance monitoring and reporting of programme implementation.

This has had a debilitating effect on public health care, where people are forced to seek medical treatment from understaffed health facilities with overworked doctors and nurses, without working equipment to perform examinations, may or may not have the required medication for treatment, or have enough food to feed patients while in hospitals.

Since taking office in late 2011, Mr Mnisi has single-handedly overseen the complete collapse of public health care in Mpumalanga, and the DA believes his redeployment to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, is none other than an attempt to protect him from oversight.

This is apparent as premier David Mabuza took no steps to remove Mnisi from office late last year, despite being horrified at the state of Mpumalanga’s hospitals following his inspection tour. If the premier was indeed serious about improving conditions in Mpumalanga’s hospitals, he would have taken action.

The fact is that Mnisi’s redeployment should have no effect of how government’s conducts its oversight, and the DA will write to the chairperson of the relevant committee demanding that the former HOD be summoned before the committee, and held to account.

It is widely known that the premier uses senior government department positions to reward and protect loyal followers, and the DA will use every means possible to ensure that Mnisi and his management team are brought to book.