Pension benefits of former Limpopo Health head to remain frozen

Former Limpopo Health Department HOD, Dr Thokozani Mhlongo, has lost an application to reconsider an order authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to freeze her pension benefits.

The corruption busting unit obtained the order in the Special Tribunal last year after she was implicated in alleged irregularities related to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the procurement of communication equipment for field workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago explained that Mhlongo resigned in the face of the allegations and a pending internal disciplinary hearing against her.

“The SIU investigations have uncovered irregularities in the appointment of service providers Clinipro Pty Ltd, Pro Secure Pty Ltd, and Ndia Business Trading (Pty) Ltd for the supply and delivery of PPE items, which resulted in the department incurring irregular expenditure and/or a fruitless and wasteful expenditure of approximately R182 million.

“Furthermore, the SIU investigation revealed that Dr Mhlongo, as the accounting officer, allegedly exposed the department to a wasteful expenditure when she authorised the procurement and payment of 10 000 cell phones to the value of R10 million for COVID-19 household screening.

“The department could only manage to distribute 388 of the 10 000 cell phones between September 2020 and March 2021, and the cell phones were distributed without the required screening application. After the physical counting of cell phones in storage by SIU investigators in March 2021, the department distributed 9 588 cell phones to community health workers for COVID-19 vaccination without the required application installed,” Kganyago said.

Source: South African Government News Agency