MEC Qedani Mahlangu
A bizarre situation has arisen whereby 37 employees in Gauteng public hospitals are working in their jobs despite being dismissed for offences that include fraud, gross misconduct, assault and theft. Most of these employees were initially suspended, but were allowed back because their appeal was not heard within the required 30 days.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
Appeal Advisory Committee
The reason they are still working is because of long delays in hearing their appeals against dismissal. Out of 47 appeals, ten people were dismissed because of absence, but 37 others remain in their jobs earning a full salary.
The appeal that has dragged on the longest is that of a dentist at the Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston who appealed in October 2013. Three other appeals date back to November 2013, and there are 32 other appeals that have not been finalised after more than 6 months.
According to Mahlangu, the Appeal Advisory Committee is considering the appeals, following which they will give their recommendations to the MEC. She says that the recently appointed committee was dedicated in the last few months to clearing “a huge backlog” and that it is “working on a fast-track programme to ensure the finalisation of the outstanding appeals.”
This appalling breakdown in the disciplinary process means that there are known crooks and incompetents working in hospitals.
At the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, for instance, there are two pharmacist assistants and two messengers who were found guilty of theft, and a clerk who accepted a bribe.
The department’s gross incompetence in handling discipline needs urgent improvement.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222