South Africa: After R45 Billion in Irregular Expenditure Over 10 Years, KZN Health Department Ill Prepared for Covid-19 Storm


Lack of consequence management, a history of dodgy tenders, feuding between unions and political leadership, R45bn in irregular expenditure over 10 years, well-documented evidence of fraud, corruption and blatant incompetence, and more than a decade of qualified audit opinions, do not inspire confidence in the KZN health department's ability to handle the Covid-19 surge.

Ideology and the ability to talk the political talk has, until now, served the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, well.

A dyed in the wool cadre, Simelane-Zulu is fluent in speaking all of the tongues the ANC has on offer, but her management will be tested as KZN battles through its Covid-19 surge, led by a department that has been stripped of credibility and ability due to decades of mismanagement, incompetence and graft.

During the department's budget vote this year, Simelane-Zulu told the KZN Legislature that "contrary to perceptions that the private sector provides a superior level of care, a disproportionate number of the Covid-19 deaths came from the private sector".

She said this raised "serious questions about the quality of care rendered, as well as [the private sector's] preparedness to deal with an epidemic of this magnitude".

Government infectious disease specialists had to...

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