NEWS

Former Treasury Official Michael Sachs Comes To Gauteng's Aid

"Michael Sachs [will] sort out the financial problems of the [health] department," said the provincial government.

27/11/2017 06:43 SAST | Updated 27/11/2017 06:58 SAST
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Michael Sachs, who recently resigned from National Treasury, has been appointed to a team set to help the Gauteng Health department recover following various crises, such as the Life Esidemini tragedy, it was announced on Sunday.

"A skilled and experienced financial manager, Michael Sachs [will] sort out the financial problems of the department," said the provincial government in a statement.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Sachs has accepted an offer to join the provincial government – a move which came less than a week after it was announced that he had resigned as deputy head of budget at the National Treasury.

On Sunday, the intervention team was announced at a media briefing which was addressed by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramakgopa.

Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Jalisile Ngqondwana, who is a mother to one of the victims, couldnt hold back tears during the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing at Emoyeni Conference Centre, Parktown on October 09, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Critical inadequacies

"In recent days, it has emerged that there are critical inadequacies in the capacities and capabilities, and competencies to run the system," the province said.

"These management inadequacies and incapacities have been clearly exposed by the Life Esidimeni tragedy."

Other members of the team are Wits University Orthopaedics Professor Mkhululi Lukhele, retired Paediatrics and Child Health professor Craig Househam, Lecturer Dr Edith Mnthla and Nurse Nomvula Marawa.

Lukhele recently completed his term as the Head of the Wits School of Clinical Medicine, while Househan is the longest serving head of department in the public service. Mntla holds a doctoral degree in nursing while Marawa previously worked in various positions including as a director of policy development in the national department of health.

In addition, Dr Ernest Kenoshi, who previously served as an acting HOD of Health in Gauteng, will also assist the team. The Executive Council Subcommittee on Health Finances, as well as the National Health Department will also help.

Areas of focus for the team include financial management, human resources, procurement systems and the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure refurbishment.

Quality control

Clinical governance, service delivery systems, as well as regulation, compliance and quality control in the sector will be reviewed.

Earlier this month, furniture from the Gauteng health department's offices, including chairs, computers, fans and a fridge, were seized to settle debts owed to companies.

In September, Telkom cut telephone lines to the head office for outstanding payments.

In August, the Sheriff of the Court removed two truckloads of furniture to force payment of R6.2m for medical negligence.

The most recent death toll of former Life Esidimeni mental health patients who died after being moved to various ill-equipped or unlicensed facilities, currently stands at 143.

An arbitration hearing into the scandal is currently underway.

-- News24