Gauteng health facing dire shortage of leadership

The provincial health department is under pressure to fill key positions.

The Star reports that the Gauteng Health Department is facing a shortage of permanent staff in key positions. The skills scarcity has been hastened by the departure of senior managers implicated in alleged corruption pertaining to the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Former Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku was relieved of his duties following investigations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into PPE procurement, leaving Jacob Mamabolo to occupy the acting MEC position.
The department has more than 78 vacancies from senior management at head office to hospital management, including chief financial officer. CFO Kabelo Lehloenya resigned in June and former department head, Professor Mkhululi Lukhele, vacated his position while on cautionary suspension. Both of their pension disbursements have been frozen by the SIU pending conclusion of investigations.

Since April and into September, the department has racked up a bill of almost R3.5 million in acting allowances to officials.

Large hospitals operating without chief executives include Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, Helen Joseph Hospital, George Mukhari Academic Hospital and Edenvale Hospital.

Mamabolo acknowledged that being short-handed affected the department’s ability to deliver adequate health care. “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,” Mamabolo said. “The process to advertise vacant funded positions is being expedited and where posts are already advertised, the HR management has been instructed to ensure that short-listing and interviews take place as quickly as possible.”

The DA’s Jack Bloom said that the department had been weakened by a lack of permanent leadership, adding: “It’s really disappointing. It was supposed to be fixed after Life Esidimeni but the department is in crisis yet again.”