Gauteng names task team to revive frail health department

The Gauteng department of health has taken the biblical proverb of “physician, heal thyself” to heart and appointed a task team to look into their own management and financial practices.

This follows the Life Esidimeni scandal in which 143 mentally ill patients under the department’s care died after they were transferred to illegal and substandard NGOs. The department has also been dogged by reports of financial mismanagement.

Last week, Gauteng premier David Makhura also appointed former treasury official Michael Sachs to help sort out the department’s financial problems.

The team – described as a “high-level intervention team” – will investigate the department’s financial and payment systems as well as maintenance and infrastructure issues.

The team’s appointment was announced on Sunday by Makhura, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi and health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa.

ALSO READ: DA slams health department over mortuary strike

“Management inadequacies and incapacities have been clearly exposed by the Life Esidimeni tragedy,” Makhura said.

The task team will comprise of Mkhululi Lukhele (professor of orthopaedics at Wits University); Craig Househam (a retired professor of paediatrics and child health); Dr Edith Mntla (a part-time senior lecturer at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University); and Nomvula Marawa (a former director of policy development in the national department of health).

The Gauteng health department is the biggest health system in South Africa and the African continent.

“It is a complex system to run and requires a competent, efficient, effective and dedicated management to lead the 68 000 working workforce that is servicing 27 million patient visits per annum.”


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Robinson Nqola

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