ACTING Gauteng Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo is taking urgent steps to fill vacancies in the crisis-ridden department in a desperate bid to stabilize its leadership structures.
This comes few days after receiving a departmental update on the rate of vacancies in all health facilities in the past six months.
Between April and September this year, the provincial health department has had 78 vacancies across the administration, including some at various public hospitals across the province.
Of these, 24 are senior management positions such as the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Emergency Medical Services and six hospital CEOs, with the latest being the resignation of Professor Mkhululi Lukhele as Head of Department (HOD).
“It is unacceptable that we have such a high rate of positions where people are in an acting capacity, more so at senior management level,” said Mamabolo.
Mamabolo further stated that this has led to the weakening of governance within the institution and if left unattended for longer it will have a dire impact on the department’s ability to deliver quality healthcare services to the people of the province.
Amongst the reasons the Department is sitting with long-standing acting positions are resignations, ongoing disciplinary measures and delays in filling vacant posts.
This has seen Gauteng Department of Health incurring R3,434,854.17 (for the period 01 April 2020 to 30 September 2020) in acting allowance.
Gauteng premier David Makhura recently dismissed health MEC Bandile Masuku after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found he had failed to act on controversial personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts.
The SIU investigated Masuku’s role in the R125-million PPE tender awarded to Thandisizwe Diko’s Royal Bhaca Projects.
SIU has also found that department officials claimed that the Gauteng health department CFO, Kabelo Lehloenya, was approving PPE contracts in contravention of the law.
Lehloenya has since left the department.
Makhura also suspended the provincial Health Department’s HOD, Lukhele, in connection with an SIU investigation into allegations of corruption linked to COVID-19 relief funds.
Lukhele subsequently resigned from the department.
Mamabolo said the Gauteng department of health was currently taking a range of steps to remedy the situation.
He said the process to advertise vacant funded positions is being expedited and where posts are already advertised the human resource management has been instructed to ensure that shortlisting and interviews take place as quickly as possible, and in instance where suitable candidates are not found through the advertising process headhunting needs to be considered.
He also said the finalisation of the departmental structure will go a long way in ensuring that the department is able to address its leadership vacuum.
“We have already made a commitment to ensure that the leadership structure issues are addressed within this financial year,” said Mamabolo.
“We are also looking at ways to create a more conducive environment that will see the Department being able to retain skilled people for longer in the system.”
(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)