Spotlight returned to the North West recently to take the temperature of the health system. Sadly, the picture is not pretty. The health system has faced massive protests at health facilities, rampant corruption, staff shortages, drug supply challenges and a myriad other problems. One mother shared her story of loss.
A company with a track record of supplying inferior medical equipment to the Free State health department recently sent five mobile x-ray units to Pelonomi Hospital, but it had to be returned after a key part of the machines was too short, making it unusable and increasing the risk of radiation exposure for patients. By Anso Thom and Marcus Low
Health4Sale: Government employee represents private company as Free State again prepares to outsource part of ambulance service
The Free State Department of Health has advertised a large new three-year private ambulance tender that flies in the face of comments by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi that it is not national policy to outsource ambulance services. Spotlight also has evidence that a Municipal government employee attended the pre-bid briefing on behalf of controversial businessman Thapelo Buthelezi. By Marcus Low and Anso Thom
In a remarkable judgment asserting the rule of law, the North Gauteng High Court has ordered the Limpopo Department of Health to obey court orders and reinstate an aeromedical service provided by Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS). The order will force the province to cancel its contract with the controversial Buthelezi HEMS, something it has been reluctant to do despite an earlier order from the Supreme Court of Appeal unequivocally stating that Red Cross AMS, and not Buthelezi HEMS, should provide the service as per an awarded tender.
Brand new theatre beds are broken within months and sub-standard anaesthesia machines stand unused following the award of a multi-million Rand medical equipment tender by the Free State Department of Health to a company called Mediquip SA Hub of which two co-directors are George Sebulela, of the Black Business Council and one of the latest additions to the Eskom board, and Tefetso Bernard Phitsane, a senior ANC politician in the Free State and close ally of Ace Magashule.
An ambulance base has to comply with a certain set of minimum requirements contained in among others the National Health Act. At the end of last year, the Department of Health published a new set of regulations which detail exactly what the requirements are for an ambulance base. The new regulations can be read here …
Buthelezi EMS netted more than R15-million from two suspect back-dated price increases from the Free State Department of Health, apparently without much scrutiny.
A Gauteng-based ambulance operator, Buthelezi EMS, that is currently the subject of both Hawks and Treasury investigations has scored road and air ambulance contracts in the so-called Premier league provinces amounting to over a Billion Rand since 2013 and they are frontrunners to secure a lucrative new three year tender for Emergency Medical Services in the Free State.
Health4Sale Part 4: Buthelezi EMS running a taxi service, not an ambulance service – Doctors and nurses
Doctors and nurses in the Free State and North West have accused Buthelezi EMS, the private company contracted to run provincial ambulance services, of operating like a minibus taxi and “drop and go” service.
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has asked treasury to investigate the procurement of ambulance services from Buthelezi EMS, a controversial private ambulance company that has been awarded large contracts in the Free State and North West.
The Mpumalanga Department of Health has defied guidance from its provincial treasury and acted in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act in awarding a three-year contract to Buthelezi HEMS, a joint venture between a controversial private ambulance company called Buthelezi EMS and HALO Aviation. This has emerged from court documents obtained by Spotlight.
The North West health department has effectively outsourced the bulk of its emergency medical service to a private ambulance company who is submitting hugely inflated invoices every month with very little appetite by officials to stop the looting. Spotlight joins the dots in this two-part investigative feature Health4Sale.