SIU Probes Corruption at Tembisa Hospital

  • Presidential Proclamation: President Cyril Ramaphosa grants the SIU authority to investigate corruption and maladministration at Tembisa Hospital.
  • Confirmed Allegations: SIU findings validate allegations of fraud, irregularities in procurement, and maladministration within Tembisa Hospital and the Gauteng Department of Health.
  • Investigation Scope: The SIU is empowered to subpoena evidence, initiate legal action, and make criminal referrals, ensuring a comprehensive probe.

In a significant development, President Cyril Ramaphosa has issued Proclamation 136 of 2023, granting the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) the authority to launch a comprehensive investigation into allegations of corruption and maladministration within the Gauteng Department of Health and Tembisa Hospital. This proclamation follows a preliminary investigation conducted by the SIU in response to allegations of corruption initially brought to light by the late Ms. Babita Deokaran.

Secondment Investigation Validates Concerns

The SIU’s initial secondment agreement investigation at Tembisa Hospital, conducted on behalf of the Gauteng Provincial Government, yielded findings that substantiated the serious allegations of corruption and maladministration. These findings provided a compelling basis for the SIU to seek authorization for a full-scale investigation through a presidential proclamation.

Confirmed Allegations

During the course of its secondment investigation, the SIU confirmed several troubling allegations, including:

AllegationsFindings
Maladministration and Possible Fraud and CorruptionThe Supply Chain Management process was marred by irregularities, and fraudulent suppliers/service providers conducted business with the hospital, leading to possible fraudulent payments.
Irregularities in Bid DocumentsNumerous irregularities in the bid documents of both successful and unsuccessful bidders were identified, which should have resulted in the disqualification of certain bidders.
Irregular Appointments of Service ProvidersService providers were appointed irregularly, resulting in the Gauteng Department of Health and Tembisa Hospital incurring irregular expenditure.
Role of the CEOThe CEO of Tembisa Hospital, during the period of irregular procurement, was responsible for authorizing purchase orders and request forms, contributing to the irregular appointment of 13 service providers.

Scope of the Investigation

Proclamation 136 of 2023 empowers the SIU to conduct an extensive investigation into various aspects related to Tembisa Hospital and the Gauteng Department of Health. This includes examining procurement processes, payments, and expenditures to determine whether they were conducted in a fair, competitive, transparent, equitable, and cost-effective manner, in accordance with guidelines issued by the National Treasury or the relevant Provincial Treasury.

Advanced Stage of Investigations

The issuance of this proclamation comes at a pivotal moment, as the SIU’s investigations have already reached an advanced stage. The SIU is now vested with the authority to:

  • Subpoena evidence, electronic gadgets, bank accounts, and interrogate witnesses under oath.
  • Delve deeper into the procurement of goods and services on behalf of Tembisa Hospital.
  • Initiate legal action against officials implicated in preliminary investigations.
  • Pursue financial recovery and assets lost by the State.
  • Investigate officials who have resigned or retired, including going after their pensions.
  • Make criminal referrals to relevant prosecuting authorities.
  • Refer matters to professional practice regulatory bodies such as SARS and Treasury for blacklisting.

Time Frame and Systemic Recommendations

The SIU’s investigation will cover alleged unlawful conduct and irregularities that transpired between 1 January 2020 and 1 September 2023, as well as related matters. In addition to uncovering and addressing maladministration, corruption, and fraud, the SIU will identify systemic failures and make recommendations to prevent future losses.

Legal Action and Criminal Referrals

Under the authority granted by the proclamation, the SIU has the ability to initiate civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal to rectify wrongdoing stemming from acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration. Furthermore, evidence of criminal conduct uncovered during the investigation will be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.

This proclamation represents a significant step in the ongoing efforts to combat corruption and maladministration within the public sector. It underscores the commitment of the South African government to uphold transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. As the SIU’s investigations continue to unfold, South Africans will closely watch for the outcomes and consequences that arise from this crucial probe into Tembisa Hospital and the Gauteng Department of Health.

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