Former FS Health HOD suspended from HPCSA role

───   OLEBOGENG MOTSE 15:07 Thu, 05 Aug 2021

Former FS Health HOD suspended from HPCSA role | News Article

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Registrar of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), David Motau, has been suspended with immediate effect from his relatively new role.

The Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, says her decision to suspend the 54-year-old Motau, comes on the back of his arrest on Monday (2 August) in connection with an R 8,7 million tender fraud case that occurred during his tenure as the head of the Free State Health Department. Kubayi-Ngubane attributes her decision to the seriousness of the allegations levelled against Motau and the ramifications thereof on the health fraternity. 

Whilst the acting Health Minister appears to have taken decisive action against Motau, the Free State Health Department has seemingly come to his defence.

Free State Health Department spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, cautions that “not all the officials in the case were involved in criminal activities and it is important to not fall into a trap of generalisation which may unduly impact the credibility of the implicated persons”. Despite making proclamations on the innocence of the current and former officials following their arrest, he says the department “is still being furnished with the charges levelled against each of the implicated officials and only then can they be empowered to clarify the status of each of the officials without meddling with legal processes”. 

The department has made specific reference to Motau’s case, explaining that as far as they understand the former departmental head was apprehended for not taking internal disciplinary steps against those who allegedly defrauded the department. Mvambi says it was Motau who instructed the department’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO) to open a criminal case once the alleged fraud was discovered. He reportedly was unable to institute internal disciplinary proceedings in light of the documentation being in the Hawks’ possession.

READ: Health weighs in on arrest of former HOD and officials

Motau and thirteen of his co-accused are implicated in the submission of falsified invoices to the department between 2011 and 2015 for services that have allegedly not been rendered. Spokesperson for the Hawks in the Free State, Christopher Singo, says the accused are each facing fraud, forgery, money laundering and corruption charges. Following their Monday court appearance, they were released out on bail of between R2000 and R5000.

The group is made up of government employees:  Motsumi Krisjan Polori (46), Sarah Kenosi Legobate (44), David Motau (54), Sarah Kenosi Legobate(44), Mietje Johns (61), Limakatso Catharine Mabitle (62), Hillary Colleen Kala (56), John Motsemme Chakane (65) and company directors: John Tsietsi Polori  (50), Thabo Moeti (39), Mavuso Victor Kwababa (49), Simon Njonga (40), Lebohang Beqezi (37), and Mmalefa Charity Moloi (39). The case has been postponed to 22 September 2021.

The arrests come nearly two years after the Hawks raided the Provincial Health Department’s headquarters in Bloemfontein.

READ: Hawks' raid at FS Health involves over R200 million's allegations 

Very little was said at the time about the ongoing investigation by the Hawks, except that the raid pertained to alleged tender fraud to the tune of R240 million. Several documents and laptops were seized at the time but no arrests were made. It is yet to be confirmed if Friday’s arrests are in relation to the aforementioned raid in 2019.

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