SAFTU welcomes the SIU report and calls for more digging



The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) welcomes the release of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report by the Office of the Premier of Gauteng. The preliminary results of the investigation into the allegations of corruption and looting of more than R800 million in the Gauteng Department of Health at the Tembisa Hospital, sheds more light into the rot.

Most importantly, the report draws us closer to the truth about syndicates that have joined together to loot state resources meant to benefit the poorest of the poor. Inching closer to the truth is essential because it also moves us closer to holding these syndicates accountable and obtaining justice for Babita Deokaran.

Early this year, the parliamentary oversight committee for health reported that Tembisa hospital, like many public hospitals, is plagued by dilapidating and inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of equipment and understaffing. It was reported to have a staff complement of 2 300 instead of 4000, given the population it serves.

Understaffing problems relate mainly to austerity measures which leads to budget cuts. These cuts also cause problems of dilapidation and shortages, and low morale amongst staff due to wage freezes. Corruption makes these problems even worse and robs the public of quality services.

It is syndicates of hyenas in both public institutions and private business enterprises that are intent on stealing public resources to enrich themselves and sustain opulent lifestyles in the leafy suburbs.

Because some of these hyenas believe that state capture is necessary for the amassment of riches, to dislodge them would require concerted efforts of the law enforcement agencies, collaborating with government employees who blow whistles on this rot and theft as well as relentless campaigning by the labour unions that are committed to uprooting corruption.

This attitude and explicit admission by hyenas does not surprise nor shock us. It is consistent with our perspective. The comprador bourgeoisie usually splits into two, those accepted by traditional capital and those shunned by it. Both of these factions of parasitic bourgeois use the state as a site for accumulation and prey on public resources meant to benefit the poor. Therefore, the syndicates that have worked together to milk the resources at Tembisa Hospital are part of this cohort.

This group must be combatted with the same energy as we combat traditional capital which is based on greed and perpetual dispossession of the great mass. The traditional capitalists push the government to defund so they can take over – privatisation. The parasitic bourgeois steals directly from public coffers meant to benefit more than 80% of the population that relies on public services and goods.

The desperation and determination of these hyenas are graphically illustrated in the fact that they even win tenders to procure medical supplies that require clearance from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) without attaining any approval. This puts users of public hospitals at risk, as these individuals may procure medically faulty products.

Since 21 suppliers have been referred to SAHPRA for licensing verification, in addition to 6 suppliers already flagged out by SAHPRA initially, SAFTU demands that harsh measures be taken against these groups for infringing medical procurement regulations.

SAFTU further reiterates its call for Justice of Babita Deokaran. In August 2022, we issued a statement calling for a thorough investigation into her death and for her cold-blooded killers and their handlers to be arrested.

Finally, we support all the recommendations of the SIU:

  1. To investigate further and uncover other irregularities, as, by its admission, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Linked to this is for the SIU to further trace in whose bank accounts these monies ended so that we can establish those who received kickbacks, especially in the context of the allegations that this money was funnelled to finance Ekurhuleni Regional Congress of the ANC.
  2. The disciplinary process against Dr Ashley Mthunzi for irregular authorisations.
  3. Referral of cases to the NPA to pursue companies listed in the concluding table of the report for providing false information during the bidding processes.

Justice for Babita Deokaran!

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