Motsoaledi blames Supra for North West health’s failures

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi at a press conference about the outbreak of listeriosis. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The health minister says his advice against the HOD’s appointment was ignored by the North West premier, as well as a later call to suspend the HOD.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has blamed North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo for the provincial health department’s failures, saying he had warned against the appointment of the now suspended head of department.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a ministerial task team to deal with the province’s most urgent matters, following riots calling for Mahumapelo’s removal last week. He has also put the provincial health department under administration.

Motsoaledi said he would be appointing a team of seven administrators, one of whom will deal with the office of suspended HOD Thabo Lekalakala.

“Now I am being open to you, because before I tried to be nice. The person who was appointed HOD was working in my department as a director, and I warned that this person won’t make it because I know him,” he said.

Motsoaledi lamented Mahumapelo’s unwillingness to heed his warning.

“You remember when I went to the North West Mediosa facility, I made a call for the HOD to be suspended and the premier waited two months? He only suspended him last month, because of the strike.

“Now that he has been suspended, neither he nor the MEC has the power to institute disciplinary proceedings and charge him.”

Lekalakala, who apparently lied about his qualifications before his appointment in 2015, is also accused of benefiting from the Gupta-linked Mediosa health scheme.

Motsoaledi said ministers have limited powers to intervene in such situations, until it is too late.

“I went to the North West to call for the Mediosa contract to be terminated. Now they are asking where was the minister, but when provinces decide on these contracts they don’t ask permission from me, because it is not provided for in the law.”

Motsoaledi has 14 days to set up his administration team and a further 100 days to complete the intervention.

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