21 October 2018


NEHAWU protests force Health HOD back on suspension 

by: Obakeng Maje     date: 22 july 2018

Things have returned to normal at the Department of Health offices in Mahikeng after Wednesday’s impromptu protests. Calm returned after Head of Department, Dr Thabo Lekalakala, was served with a letter to extend his suspension. He had returned to work because his initial suspension had ended. 
The situation got tense after some NEHAWU members embarked on an unplanned protest, burned tyres and barricaded all entrances to the offices with stones to protest Dr Lekalakala’s return to work on Tuesday. 
NEHAWU also claimed that the health department paid performance bonuses to some individuals while negotiations were still underway.
Departmental spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane, said the department and NEHAWU have reached an agreement after engagements. He also confirmed that investigations against Lekalakala were still ongoing as more issues had come up while he was on the initial suspension. Key to Lekalakala’s troubles at his job was a R30-million pre-payment to Mediosa Health for the supply of mobile health units. The contract has since being scrapped.
Cabinet put the health department under administration after the department was accused of maladministration, corruption and fraud. South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, then appointed an Inter-Ministerial Task Team led by Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to investigate the state of affairs in Bokone Bophirima province.
On Wednesday Lekalakala said he had returned to work legally.
“I have followed all due processes and I was working nicely on Tuesday without any commotions. I do not know why people are up in arms today (Wednesday) and want me gone. I have done nothing wrong and there are people who continue to spread malicious rumours about me,” he told Semphete. 
Lekalakala said there are people who want to assassinate his character and urged people to be wary of what he called lies from his detractors.  
NEHAWU acting Chairperson at Office Park, Lesego Sechogo, said they embarked on a protest after Lekalakala reported back at work and called all Chief Directors on Tuesday to tell them that they should inform their subordinates that he is back.