KZN Health HOD must be subpoenaed to appear before Scopa

Mark Steele, MPP

DA KZN Scopa spokesperson

Last week’s Scopa hearing with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DOH) had to be adjourned before it had even started due to the absence of both the department’s HOD and Accounting Officer.

The HOD, Dr Zungu was apparently attending a meeting of the national DOH in Pretoria.  Both she and the MEC for Health, Dr Dhlomo, sent their apologies but Scopa could not proceed in the absence of the HOD.

The KwaZulu-Natal health department has received a qualified audit for the 2012/13 financial year.  It has audit qualifications on movable assets of R5.2 billion, of irregular expenditure of R1.47 billion and of a failure to account properly for leave entitlements of R681.49 million.

It has had audit findings for five consecutive years on matters ranging from non-compliance with supply chain management regulations to non-compliance with medical waste legislation and regulations.

It is not an exaggeration to say it is a department in crisis and Scopa has, for some time now, prioritised this hearing as crucial in coming to terms with the problems facing this department.

The failure of the HOD to appear before Scopa is completely unacceptable and Scopa must pursue the hearing with the department, if necessary by issuing a subpoena to the HOD compelling her attendance.

The DA will be requiring the MEC to explain to the Legislature why a committee of the House was unable to perform its work of oversight because of the non-attendance of his senior official.