Pretoria – Premier David Makhura has placed Gauteng Health’s provincial head of department under precautionary suspension with immediate effect.
Professor Mkhululi Lukhel is alleged to have failed to properly monitor issued Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPEs) tenders.
Makhura revealed that he was acting on the recommendations of the Special Investigating Unit following the update report presented to him on 22 September 2020.
“The Special Investigating Unit found that the HOD failed to exercise his responsibility in the awarding of contracts to certain companies for the procurement of goods and services in relation to the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Makhura said.
He said the alleged actions, or omission by the HOD may have resulted in the department incurring fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
“Professor Lukhele will remain in precautionary suspension pending the completion of the investigations by the SIU and disciplinary proceedings for misconduct,” Makhura said.
However, Lukhele faces more troubles as the Public Service Commission (PSC) last month asked the office of the Premier and Health MEC to take disciplinary action against him following the irregular appointment of Kabelo Lehloenya as Health Department Chief Financial Officer in 2018.
In August, Gauteng PSC Commissioner Mike Seloane confirmed that the Gauteng health department failed to follow proper public service regulations when it head-hunted Lehloenya for the post in 2018.
“The MECs – Jacob Mamabolo (Roads and Transport), Barbara Creecy (former Gauteng Finance MEC) and Dr Gwen Ramokgopa (former Health MEC) who conducted her interview were misled about the competence tests by Lehloenya.
“Lehloenya’s competence test was conducted by a non-existent company. There was no vetting on her by the State Security Agency. She also did not have a security clearance when she was appointed to the senior posts of deputy director-general,” Seloane said.
He further said: “Her appointment bordered on forgery as it violated regulations by the Department of Public Service and Administration.”
Seloane said the PSC recommended that disciplinary action should be taken against Lukhele and other officials in the department’s human resources division.