The Special Investigating Unit into allegations of fraud and corruption in the department is progressing very and expected to be concluded by the end of March 2013. In terms of the 2008 proclamation, the investigation is covering the period between 1 January 2004 and 2011.
The unit is awaiting new proclamation to cover fresh allegations from 2011 to date. The unit has been focusing in the emergency centres in Mthatha, East London, Khutsong and Port Elizabeth.
In East London Emergency services, the unit has uncovered that, 39 companies that were rendering services there were not tax compliant. They have rendered services to the value of R10, 9 million. The department has referred all the companies have been referred to SARS to be investigated for possible VAT fraud.
Twenty suppliers are implicated in corrupt and fraudulent activities, their cases have now been referred to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a decision whether to prosecute or not. Five officials from East London emergency services have also been investigated and their cases have been sent to NPA for prosecution decision as well.
One company has signed an acknowledgement of debt, and has offered to repay R197 000 back to the department. We wish to dismiss media reports that, R1.4 billion was lost to corruption. This gross exaggeration is viewed as a deliberate attempt by mischievous elements outside the department to create chaos and confusion.
There is no official report suggesting these allegations which have misled the nation about our efforts and commitment to find draft in the department. Over the past two years, the department has hired forensic auditing firm, Price Waterhouse Coopers to conduct series of internal investigations in the department and what has been found by those investigations.
The allegations that, an emergency services official suspended for alleged non registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa was reinstated by the MEC are incorrect, the official remains on suspension awaiting the outcome of his appeal.
Meanwhile, the department is taking legal action against 11 doctors who refused to work in the province as stipulated in the contract they signed with the department when they requested funding towards their medical degree. Their refusal has directly affected service delivery as hospitals such as 140 bed - Canzibe hospital is being served by two doctors. The hospital was allocated three of the 11 doctors.
The department is demanding their immediate return to the province or full payment repayment of the money contributed towards their studies. They each received R450 000 which includes tuition.