Under Dr Eric Buch’s leadership the board of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) is showing a welcome degree of independence and governance vigour (National laboratory service suspends yet another official, May 4).

By suspending CEO Joyce Mogale, chief financial officer Sikhumbuzo Zulu and procurement boss Graham Motsepe, the NHLS board has drawn a line under the graft that was crippling one of our prized national institutions.

When Mogale was appointed in 2015, there was speculation she was Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s preferred candidate. I asked a parliamentary question to see if there was undue influence. Motsoaledi responded: "Three officials were involved in the recruitment process, Mr Andre Venter and Dr Devanand Moonasar — in their capacity as members of the board — and Ms Malebone Precious Matsoso in her capacity as an independent technical expert…. Ms Matsoso as the DG [director-general] of health did not participate in any discussion or process that resulted in a preferred candidate being identified."

I have no doubt that Ms Matsoso acted legally, in good faith and with integrity, but she is the director-general, the accounting officer for her department’s budget and reports to her political principal, Motsoaledi.

That is why the DA is firmly of the view that regulators and the boards of entities should be appointed by Parliament, so that they do their jobs without political interference.

Dr Wilmot James, MPDA national health spokesman

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