2017/02/08 Phumla Sekhonyane
The Gauteng Premier, Mr David Makhura has placed the Head of the Department of Health on precautionary suspension in line with the recommendation of the Heath Ombudsperson. The Director of Mental Health in the department has also been served with a notice of intention to suspend her. She has 48 hours to respond and give reasons why she should not be suspended in line with the public service regulations.
The suspension and notice of intention to suspend have been effected in line with recommendation 2 and 3 of the Health Ombud report released by Professor Malegapuru Makgoba following the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of mentally ill patients in Gauteng.
The Premier has appointed Dr Ernest Kenoshi as the Acting Head of Department. Dr Kenoshi, currently the CEO of Steve Biko Academic Hospital, He is an M.B.CH.B graduate from the University of Natal which he completed in 1976 . He also holds a Masters in Public Health (Hospital Management) from the University of Witwatersrand. Dr Kenoshi’s previous experience includes being a Senior Superintendent and Principal Medical officer in various hospitals around Gauteng.
Precautionary suspensions served on Health Officials
He has been managing the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in the province, for the past 15years.
His long track record in public healthcare sector will assist in stabilising the department, strengthen its leadership and ensure the achievement of better health outcomes in the province.
Meanwhile, the task team consisting of senior officials; specialists in the area of mental health: doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, occupational therapists; civil society organisations, family representatives, are continuing with their work to inspect the various NGOs that have patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni. Twenty NGOs have been visited so far and this process will be concluded by Friday, 10 February. The team is also working towards identifying institutions that are well-equipped to care for the mental health patients in compliance with the Mental Health Care Act (2002).
During the inspection, the members of the task team are also checking and examining some of the patients. Family members are constantly engaged on these developments and have representatives in the advisory teams.
In addition, Premier Makhura has reiterated that he will continue to urgently implement the Health Ombudsman’s recommendations without any reservation or delay.