Health HoD sus­pen­sion ‘won’t solve is­sues as depart­ment is rot­ten’ – Ne­hawu Ulundi vic­tims sought

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - News - SIHLE MAVUSO prov­inces@the­newage.co.za SI­BONGISENI MA­PHU­MULO

THE Na­tional Health Ed­u­ca­tion and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Ne­hawu) said the sus­pen­sion of the head of depart­ment of the cri­sis stricken KZN depart­ment of health, Dr Si­fiso Mt­shali, on Mon­day would not solve the prob­lems be­set­ting it.

The union said Mt­shali was new to the depart­ment and could not be held re­spon­si­ble for the col­laps­ing depart­ment.

“The depart­ment is rot­ten in to­tal­ity, both at po­lit­i­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive level. Some of the al­leged (bad) things started hap­pen­ing even be­fore he took over as the HoD,” Ne­hawu’s Phakama Ndunakazi, said.

Mt­shali, the for­mer CEO of the Inkosi Al­bert Luthuli Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal, took of­fice in March. He took over from Dr Sibongile Zungu who left in 2015 af­ter re­ports that she was no longer on good terms with the depart­ment’s MEC, Dr Si­bongiseni Dhlomo.

In his short ten­ure, Mt­shali who could not be reached for com­ment, en­coun­tered an on­go­ing on­col­o­gist cri­sis, sev­eral law­suits and cor­rup­tion scan­dals re­lated to pro­cure­ment of equip­ment mainly for hos­pi­tals.

Dr Im­ran Keeka MPL – DA KZN spokesper­son on health mat­ters, al­leged that Mt­shali was purged for ac­cus­ing Dhlomo of in­ter­fer­ing in ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ters.

“Ac­cord­ing to HoD Mt­shali’s frank ad­mis­sion in a re­cent min­is­te­rial task team re­port, (Dhlomo) med­dled il­le­gally in depart­ment’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Keeka said that Pre­mier Wil­lies Mchunu should have in­stead fired Dhlomo, a man he ac­cused of hav­ing done noth­ing to pre­vent the col­lapse of this crit­i­cal ser­vice de­liv­ery depart­ment.

“KZN’s on­col­ogy and other health crises did not hap­pen overnight. They also did not hap­pen un­der Dr Mt­shali’s watch alone. The com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor is MEC Dhlomo. It is clear that Dr Mt­shali is the lat­est scape­goat to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for a po­lit­i­cal bun­gle.” Health depart­ment spokesper­son Sam Mkhwanazi and his as­sis­tant, Agiza Hlong­wane, did not re­spond to the al­le­ga­tions.

“We have no com­ment to make at this stage. An of­fi­cial com­ment will be made in due course,” Nd­abe Sibiya, the spokesper­son of the pre­mier said. PO­LICE have urged for pos­si­ble vic­tims of the man dubbed the Ulundi se­rial rapist to come for­ward fol­low­ing his ar­rest last week on 12 counts of rape.

There is sus­pi­cion that the 37-yearold sus­pect may have as­saulted more women dur­ing his reign of ter­ror along the rail­way line near Mb­hoshon­g­weni area in Ulundi from 2012 to 2016.

“An ap­peal is ex­tended to all com­plainants who have been vic­tims of this sus­pect to please con­tact the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer in Ulundi, WO Mucu Luh­long­wane at 0358740330 or 0715602976,” po­lice spokesper­son Col Them­beka Mb­hele said.

The Ulundi SAPS be­lieve that some of the rape in­ci­dents dur­ing the four years might have gone un­re­ported.

The ac­cused is re­ported to have stalked his vic­tims from their work places at the Ulundi Plaza. He tar­geted women walk­ing alone af­ter knock­ing off duty late at night.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice re­ports the sus­pect threat­ened his vic­tims with a knife and firearm and pulled them into nearby bushes where he would rape them.

“In an in­ci­dent that oc­curred in 2015, the sus­pect was ar­rested for rape and taken to court but due to in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence, the mat­ter was with­drawn.

“Sam­ples were taken from him and for­warded for DNA anal­y­sis. The ac­cused was then linked to 12 other cases which he al­legedly com­mit­ted in the same area,” Mb­hele said.

The pos­i­tive DNA led to a manhunt for the sus­pect by of­fi­cers from the Ulundi Fam­ily Vi­o­lence, Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences Unit. The sus­pect who had nar­rowly evaded jail, was once again ar­rested last Wed­nes­day in Ulundi.

Act­ing provin­cial com­mis­sioner, Maj-Gen Bheki Langa, who has pri­ori­tised crimes against women and chil­dren wel­comed the ar­rest.“Our po­lice will en­sure that all crim­i­nals tar­get­ing vul­ner­a­ble women and chil­dren will be re­moved from the com­mu­nity,” he said. The ac­cused ap­peared yes­ter­day in the Mahla­bathini Mag­is­trate’s Court fac­ing 12 counts of rape and was re­manded in cus­tody.

Si­fiso Mt­shali

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