Health Minister furious at North West contracting Gupta-linked company
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has instructed the North West department of health to end a contract with Mediosa‚ a Gupta-linked company — and Parliament’s portfolio committee on health is to call the national and provincial departments of health to appear before it.
Motsoaledi said he was deeply disappointed to find that the provincial department had contracted a private company to provide services already supplied at public health facilities. Mediosa has two hi-tech mobile clinic units in the North West and one in the Free State.
"This was not supposed to happen in our country. The service looks very state of the art — X-rays‚ dental chairs‚ optometry equipment, etc. But this is a service that we don’t need at all," Motsoaledi said. "In fact‚ I don’t think I’ll be wrong to characterise it as an ATM card through which the Guptas are withdrawing money from the department of health ... There is no other way [to describe it].
He said the North West department of health faced serious problems and it should not be spending millions of rand on unnecessary services. "We need to save each and every cent that we have. We don’t have any spare money to do what is being done here‚" Motsoaledi told ENCA on Friday. "I would really ask that this service be terminated. Whoever entered into this contract must find a way to terminate it."
Lindelwa Dunjwa‚ the chairwoman of the portfolio committee on health‚ said it was shocking that the North West health department spent money on a Gupta-linked company.
"It cannot be right that we have private companies performing duties that are a key competency of government. The use of private ambulances is costly and is negatively impacting on the provincial department’s budget. We will not allow corruption to rear its ugly head in the health sector."