Jacob Mamabolo acting Health MEC as Bandile Masuku placed on special leave.

CHARLES MOLELE

WHILE he takes over a department riddled with nepotism, corruption and financial mismanagement in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, acting Health MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, has hit the ground running, meeting with senior management and visiting various warehouses across Gauteng.

On Friday, together with the department’s quality assurance team, Mamabolo visited a warehouse in Centurion, outside Pretoria, to check on the systems and stocks levels of various items.

According to a departmental official who accompanied Mamabolo during the site visit, some of the stocks – including personal protective equipment (PPE), had been stored at the warehouse since mid-April and were still not distributed to where they are desperately needed.

Mamabolo also met with senior management staff to get an update on the department’s response to the pandemic, including the increasing hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients and bed capacity at various healthcare centres.

Mamabolo was appointed acting MEC of Health on Thursday after Dr Bandile Masuku was placed on a leave of absence over investigations of alleged tender fraud.

“It was good to meet senior management of Gauteng Department of Health. We have a mammoth task ahead of us and we need to build on the momentum created by Dr Bandile Masuku,” Mamabolo tweeted later on Friday afternoon.

In the past few months, the province has been inundated with reports of alleged impropriety relating to procurement of PPE for COVID-19.

Masuku and his wife, Loyiso, have taken leave of absence after being linked to a controversial R125 million personal protective equipment scandal.

Their leave of absence comes after the Gauteng Health Department awarded Amabhaca King Madzikane Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, the tender to provide PPE to the province.

The R125 million deal was awarded to Diko’s husband, amaBhaca chief Madzikane II Thandisizwe.

Meanwhile, Masuku and Diko have been subjected to the ANC’s Provincial Integrity Committee for their role in the controversial R125-million tender.

According to the data as of 29 July, a total of 5 476 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital in Gauteng – 1889 are in intensive care (ICU) and high care units, while 3 587 have been admitted to general wards.

(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)

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