The Sigogo Petition dealt with the alleged cover-up by the Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding reported irregularities, maladministration, nepotism, fraud, poor working conditions and victimisation of employees at the Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH). Mr Sigogo and other petitioners gave oral testimony on irregularities at the hospital in the area of staffing, the freezing of posts, the Institutional Management Labour Committee (IMLC), nepotism and employment equity. The PSC had investigated these complaints and gave a briefing on some of their findings in the report.
The petitioners asserted that the management of KDH had not adhered to the departmental policies when staffing the hospital. The freezing of posts had led to inadequate staffing and a deterioration in the quality of care for the patients. The IMLC had been intended to facilitate discussions on all matters affecting staff of the hospital, as well as serve as a communication forum for discussing critical matters regarding the management and governance of the hospital. The IMLC meetings had been collapsed, and this had been led to a breakdown in communication and trust. The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) contended that nepotism and favoritism was being exercised in the appointment of staff and that there were instances of staff not possessing the necessary qualifications and work experience for the posts that they were occupying.
On the matter of employment equity, NEHAWU said that the hospital management was not representative of the demographic composition of the community, as only the head of nursing was a black female. There had been issues of staff intimidation at KDH that had resulted in witnesses not coming forward to present their testimony in Parliament
The Public Service Commission made brief remarks on the findings in their report, and said it had found that there was merit in most of the allegations made by NEHAWU. However, the severity and veracity of certain conclusions drawn by NEHAWU were contestable. The PSC found that whilst the facts around specific allegations differed, they nonetheless pointed to a level of procedural or systemic failures.
The Department of Labour suggested that employment equity, unfair dismissal and staffing issues be taken up with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and due process be followed, and offered their assistance where necessary. They would give guidance to KDH on employment equity issues to ensure compliance and ensure that employers and employees worked in a safe environment.
The Chairperson greeted the Members, officials, observers, petitioners and the Office of the Public Service Commission, and commented that the people who were missing from the meeting were the Western Cape Government, which had been invited. This was not the first petition to come to this Committee, including the petition which had been tabled yesterday regarding Mrs Fuzane’s child who had been admitted to Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH), beaten by the nurses and died.
A moment of silence was observed for Mrs Fuzane’s child.
Sigogo Petition on Khayelitsha Hospital
Mr Olwethu Sigogo, Branch Chairperson: National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) at KDH, said that NEHAWU did not focus only on worker issues in the work place, but also on the issues that affected the community. KDH was officially opened in 2012 and since then NEHAWU had been participating in a forum called the Institutional Management and Labour Caucus (IMLC). This forum dealt with the issues that affect both staff and community and it was only late last year that this forum had collapsed because the management was not eager to engage with NEHAWU anymore.
By virtue of being the majority union, NEHAWU had the power to continue with the IMLC even if other unions were not present. The management of KDH had brought up a procedural issue that NEHAWU could no longer participate with management to discuss issues facing workers and patients because other unions were not present. Later, there had been an IMLC training programme that had been run by management, and it had been established that in fact NEHAWU had the right to run the IMLC even if other unions were not there.
In September last year, NEHAWU had embarked on picketing. The management of KDH had intimidated the picketing workers, but nonetheless the picketing took place and it was successful. A memorandum was received by Dr Phillips, the Director of Substructure, even though the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) in the province had been invited to receive it. The memorandum had been handed over to Dr Perez, Chief Director: Metro District Service, after which there was a meeting to discuss the memorandum and possible outcomes, but nothing had materialized after this meeting. A response from Dr Perez came after three weeks, requesting a meeting with NEHAWU, but it was already too late because members were being further victimised, especially by the Acting CEO, Ms Grace Mashaba.
Earlier this year, NEHAWU had approached Parliament to investigate the issues that had been raised in a petition, and this was referred to the Public Service Commission (PSC). There had been an investigation earlier this year, in April. NEHAWU had been very disappointed with the outcomes and how the investigation was done. All the staff members that were victimised were never interviewed during this investigation, and no staff members were interviewed to speak to the Public Service Commissioner. No ordinary staff members, the ones who felt the burning issues of KDH, were interviewed. In their report, the outcomes were very disappointing which was why NEHAWU had responded to this report. The report was no good and workers continued to be victimized, and they were not even allowed to attend this Parliamentary meeting today. Witnesses who were supposed to come to the Committee meeting were not able to attend because they were victimized, and the Commission report did not report on this.
He referred to staffing and posts at the KDH, and said since 2012 NEHAWU had been asking the hospital to stop the freezing of posts, but this had continued even to this day, and this affected both workers and the community. The community of Khayelitsha was the working class, and after hours it was the working class in Khayelitsha that came to KDH for service. This was why these issues were being raised. The freezing of posts resulted in poor patient care, members were being blamed, doctors were being blamed, and nurses were being faulted, but they were not the ones who were in charge of employment. The nurses and doctors provided a service to the patient, but the PSC had said management was right because it was implementing austerity measures as directed by the national government.
The management freezes posts or they take the posts of five administration clerks and group them together to create a post for a specialist doctor. Who would work with a specialist doctor if there were no nurses or no staff? The medical specialists need supporting staff, nurses and admin workers, and cleaning services. If a medical specialist was employed, it would be useless because who would assist them in that field? NEHAWU was raising these issues because it not only affected workers but also the community of Khayelitsha. The people of Khayelitsha deserved better than what they were receiving from KDH.
Irregular appointments over the past few years had been ongoing. During the Public Service investigation, NEHAWU had cited 14 irregular appointments, and only two were found to be true. The person appointed in the maternity unit was not even registered with the National Nursing Council, and this posed a danger to patients. One of NEHAWU’s members was the youth manager at the unit, who lost a grievance regarding the performance of that professional nurse (PN) specialist. A general PN was performing better than a specialist. The PSC found no issue with this in its report, though grievances were logged against the management.
On the issue of employment equity, Khayelitsha was a black township but this was not showing in the management of the hospital. People in strategic positions did not indicate that the hospital was in a black community. From substructure down to the hospital, it was all the same. This issue had been raised since 2012 -- it could not be correct that there was a management that did not represent the community. During the IMLC, this issue was always on the agenda, and the answer that staff got was that it was not up to KDH to decide on employment equity, it was an issue from head office. One of the things that was a motivation of some of the managers employed was equity, and it was very sad that a coloured manager was motivated whilst there was an African person who could fill this position but was not employed. The issue of employment equity had to be looked at.
When the appointment of the acting CEO was announced by the MEC for Health in the Western Cape, they had said that the people of Khayelitsha wanted a black person to be the CEO of the hospital, and while NEHAWU agreed in principle that people of Khayelitsha deserved an African person to be CEO, it should not be Acting CEO, Ms Mashaba. There had been reports of fraud and staff intimidation, but instead of accountability she had been elevated to being CEO. It had not been easy for NEHAWU members to be in Parliament, but they had refused to bow down to intimidation from management.
After the PSC’s report was released, they were told that the Khayelitsha management had a hit list of seven people who they wanted to fire, and two had already been fired. Instead of addressing the issues raised, they wanted to get rid of the people who raised issues. Once one took them on, they looked for small issues and took them to a formal hearing to make sure that that person was dismissed. The labour relations officer in Khayelitsha, Mr Mbobo specialised in dismissing employees who stood up against management. One person had been fired because of standing up to management, and there were others who had been dismissed. NEHAWU wanted justice for workers and justice for the staff and the community of Khayelitsha.
Chairperson asked who the nurses were that had been invited but not allowed to come.
Mr Sigogo named the three nurses that had not been allowed to come. He noted that two witnesses had been dismissed.
Witbooi petition on Khayelitsha Hospital
Dr Moses Witbooi, Shop Steward: NEHAWU, KDH, highlighted an omission, saying that there was a Dr Anele who was also willing to come and be a witness, but because of harassment at KDH, he had been advised to not come today.
NEHAWU had come to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in spite of an escalation of the usual intimidation from the entire KDH management. There had been efforts by the management of the hospital to stop NEHAWU members from attending the Committee hearing. In order to protect the witnesses from further abuse and intimidation that were due to come today, NEHAWU had decided not to bring them along. Late yesterday afternoon, he had received a call from the acting clinical manager warning NEHAWU of what would happen. Management had said that if they wanted to attend Parliament as witnesses, they must sign for annual leave instead of a special leave. When the witnesses wanted to sign for annual leave, this was not allowed and there was no answer from management as to why they could not come and be witnesses. Initially, the KDH management had started intimidating the staff and then later they had started intimidating the shop stewards. There was no reason that the staff and those who were going to witness, should not be allowed to come to this Committee meeting. There were different types of leaves, and there were many instances of other staff members taking special leave at KDH, and this was clearly a strategy of intimidating staff from coming here today. NEHAWU shop stewards had been denied shop steward leave as an attempt to stop them from coming here ,but the shop stewards who were present today took leave nonetheless, even if it meant leave without pay.
NEHAWU appealed to the Committee to stop the management from intimidating workers. Threatening and bullying by KDH management, assisted by Mr Joey Roman, in the Labour Relations Office, must be stopped immediately. The PSC had come and done an investigation, sent a report and made recommendations, but this had not helped at all. Victimisation had continued the next day. The Commission had said that NEHAWU should call should there be issues, but there would have been hundreds of calls.
When they went to work every morning, they wanted to offer a service to the people, not to deal with labour related issues and fighting intimidation of staff. Nothing had changed after the investigation and the report and the recommendations. NEHAWU requested an investigation of all the issues raised at this Committee, with action against all those responsible. The Committee should ask KDH to provide a better opportunity for NEHAWU to help restore the public image of KDH, and improve its relationship with the community of Khayelitsha. There had been issues on social media of people publishing things about KDH, but NEHAWU had not been involved in that at all, because the intention was not to damage the image of KDH.
Dr Witbooi said the staff and shop stewards had followed all lawful procedures before coming to the NCOP. NEHAWU had used the public service-regulated code of conduct and Public Service Act grievances procedure. It had engaged with the KDH management and the Khayelitsha Eastern Sub-Structure within the IMLC, and had referred issues to the Western Cape provincial chamber. It had also requested special IMLC meetings with management because of the urgency of some of the issues, and requests had been declined for no reasons.
NEHAWU wanted a special meeting to discuss the payout to the CEO for untaken annual leave. They wanted to know what happened to the R60 000 award, and wanted to see the list of employees that were employed at KDH, and this was not allowed. It had referred associated cases to the PSC and referred cases to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). It had requested intervention from office of the Chief Director, and had requested assistance from head of department (HOD), the MEC and from the Office of the Premier. When nothing happened, it had gone into the picketing state. After the picketing, there had been one meeting with the chief director, but after that things broke down because of the delaying tactics used.
During the picket that took place last year in September, NEHAWU had invited the media and many radio and TV stations, but none came or were interested. Only one journalist from The Argus had come, but had declined to publish the story. NEHAWU had been stuck at this point and had decided to turn to the NCOP, and it had taken over a year to get here. There had been misuse of public institutions against the staff.
Ms G Oliphant (ANC, Northern Cape) interrupted to address the fact that it had taken them one year to get here. Just because it was difficult to come here, and bearing in mind the KDH issue had been taken up by the Chairperson, she wondered why it had taken one year. Maybe the PSC knew.
Dr Witbooi continues that they had expected that these institutions would assist both staff and management, but NEHAWU had learnt that they were mainly at the service of the management of KDH. While the staff were servicing the community, public money was being used to make the life of staff members unbearable, either by sexual harassment, corruption or intimidation of staff. The staff and public had been left powerless.
Over the past two weeks, the Office of Labour Relations in the Western Cape and the Commission had provided grievance procedure and staff discipline training at KDH, which arose from a recommendation by the Commission after the investigative report. However, certain managers were excluded from attending these trainings. Looking at who was and who was not at the training, it was those who were supposed to be there who were not there. One of the witnesses was supposed to be there was among those invited to the training, and only when this was questioned was Dr Witbooi invited to the training. Non-managerial staff of KDH would have benefited from such training. After the training session, Dr Witbooi had asked the PSC that if a grievance had failed at the institutional level, including the head office, how much time did the aggrieved have to submit if to the Commission. He was told five days, which was shocking because this information was not readily available. What if staff members did not know they had five days? The PSC’s answer was that that was not the PSC problem. NEHAWU asks that this Committee help to investigate why it was that certain people were not invited to this training.
There had also been financial mismanagement at KDH. NEHAWU have reported this through all due processes as stated above, but it had fallen on deaf ears. Financial mismanagement continued to happen. The case of the CEO being paid R250 000 in cash for untaken annual leave was a case in point. The office of Mr Roman in Labor Relations had been aware of this, but nothing had been done about it. The Commission had not investigated the CEO’s payment, and concluded that they had found no irregularities in the payments. No action had been taken to restore public confidence. The Commission report said that all necessary documentation to make payment had been signed appropriately, which meant they were covering something up.
In their response, NEHAWU had said: “In a hospital which repeatedly says budget and fiscal allocation constrains its ability to provide an improved health service to Khayelitsha, how could you officially allow the signing off of documents to justify allowing the CEO to not take his annual leave?” The greater victims here were the community of Khayelitsha, but the PSC had found nothing wrong. Its outcome on this issue had been a huge disappointment. The current acting CEO was more dangerous with her abuse of power. Some of these issues had happened after the PSC’s investigation. Once Ms Mashaba had been investigated, and those who had been working with her were held accountable. Corruption needed to be stopped so that quality of care could be provided to patients.
As a union, NEHAWU did not deal with quality of care because it was not a direct labour-related issue. However, corruption and intimidation had a negative impact on the quality of care.
Dr Witbooi listed instances where financial mismanagement had had a negative impact on the quality of care:
- Required number and quality of staff would not be appointed. For example, the case of Mr Stamper.
- The resources of the hospital were not allocated locally in the most effective way -- for example, the lack of drivers to transport specimens from KDH to Tygerberg after hours.
- A senior nursing manager had been removed by the CEO and placed to work away from KDH so she does not see the corruption involving Ms Mashaba and Mr Plaaitjies.
- Mr Mbobo resigned from his position as labour relations office and immediately got reappointed in a week of leaving to be able to access his benefits.
- The health staff at Emfuleni were unhappy with irregular appointments in relation to the appointment of Mr Mbobo.
- Two weeks ago, an attempt was made to make another irregular appointment in the labour ward.
- Occupational health and safety was being compromised.
- Corruptly-appointed people would be blindly loyal to management, and cover up corruption,
- Bullied and victimized staff could not provide services to their best ability
NEHAWU requested that these matters be investigated.
Dr Witbooi said Mr Stamper had been a corrupt appointment which had been defended despite grievances against him. As a result, pregnant patients were exposed to his clinical mismanagement. Things had been said about staff skills and quality of care at KDH, but no training and skills development had been offered. After being appointed Acting CEO, Ms Mashaba had tried hard to stop the work of the skills committee. The nursing training committee was a hindrance to the corruption of Miss Mashaba. The PSC investigation had been done very poorly, and had been a waste of public funds. The damage that was happening at KHD was very deep, which was why they had brought it to the attention of the NCOP.
The Chairperson commented on the two witnesses who had lost their jobs, the nurses being abused, and maternity ward patients dying without receiving attention.
Dr Witbooi responded that he would have added all that to the submission, but to a large extend they needed their witnesses to testify to what had been said. However, they had been denied the opportunity to testify. They were the ones who knew all the details of the situation.
Ms Oliphant commented that despite what Dr Witbooi had said, there was no proof, so it would be wise to leave the point.
Ragman petition on Khayelitsha Hospital
Mr Abdul Ragman, former Human Resources (HR) Manager at KDH, said one of his concerns was that the issues that had been mentioned here were related to HR matters about which he had not been interviewed by the Commission. He had worked with all the issues that had been mentioned, and more.
Things had started going wrong when had he questioned what was happening with regard to recruitment issues and staff performance about which he was uncomfortable. He had had to answer to all the issues with regard to irregular appointments, but once one started asking questions, one got targeted by the management.
He said that one of their colleagues had been shot a few years ago, and this colleague had known that things that were happening at the hospital. This deceased colleague had worked on fees, and he had access to information, so the idea of a “hit list” had made people very scared. As an HR manager, he had offered records and reports that he had made about what was happening at the hospital to the MEC -- and then he himself became a target.
The Chairperson said his understanding of a hit list was that Mr Ragman was going to be expelled, and now he was saying that someone had been shot?
Mr Ragman responded that as an HR manager, he had recorded things and had offered the reports with regard to manipulation and corruption to both the MEC and HOD. He then became a target, which was why he was out of a job right now.
The Chairperson asked if he still had those records.
Mr Ragman said he had, and had offered to make them available. He had tried other avenues before coming to the NCOP. The reports had been sabotaged whenever he sent them through to the office of the CEO. His grievance processes had been sabotaged, and they were misusing processes as they did not want to answer the grievances that had all been mentioned here.
Mr Plaaitjies had tried to interview his own brother for a PN post. Picketing had happened in 2017 and in the memo some irregularities had been mentioned, but no action had been taken in regard to this. However, as soon as the memo came out, an affidavit had come from the police station saying that Mr Plaaitjies was not related to his brother. There was no disciplinary hearing for Mr Plaaitjies for this level of nepotism.
Regarding occupational health and safety, a few months ago, the MEC had opened a computed tomography (CT) scanner operating room, but the year before the facilities manager -- who was also dismissed – had raised his concern because the CT scanner room had no ventilation and only one exit door, and he had said this room was a risk. The chief radiographer had also raised his concerns about the room for the CT, and the entire process had been rushed just to secure funding.
The PSC did not know there had been two near fires in Khayelitsha Hospital. A patient had thrown a cigarette away and it had caught fire, but nursing staff had put it out, but no precautions weretaken. Emergency Medical Services (ENS) had hosted a huge safety meeting with management on how to do a drill should there be a disaster, which should happen twice a year. By June of this year, many of the issues had not been resolved. In February this year, there had been another fire hazard on the first floor due to faulty air conditioning, luckily it did not cause a fire. These were the concerns he had been exposed to, and he was willing to show how performance management had been manipulated.
Mdekazi petition on Khayelitsha Hospital
Ms Thandeka Mdekazi, former Service Manager in the Khayelitsha Sub Structure, said she had been employed in 2003 when the community-based programmes were being started. Her work was to deal with the non-profit organizations (NPOs) that were partners to the department in Khayelitsha.
What Mr Sigogo had highlighted was that she was the only black manager among 15 coloureds and three whites. They had created a post for a Deputy Director of Programmes, and they had not employed her. Other posts of senior manager were opened, and then “Delia” was employed from outside the sub-structure. She had told them how to do the work -- she was not angry at them or anything like that. Delia had been two years in the post when she started having problems with Ms Mdekazi because Delia had wanted to give money to other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) outside of Khayelitsha. She stated that Delia had an interest in the department and Ms Mdekazi had shown them the guidelines and asked why they were not funding NGOs in Khayelitsha.
They would write incorrect reports about these issues, and when she started challenging them, she became a target. She had been targeted for the case of Mrs Fuzane’s child. She had written in her report that her child had been seen being beaten by nurses, and that was the second reason to be targeted. She had been told to lie in the report and say the child had bed-sores,
After 14 years with a clean record, she had been fired. There had been issues with the transport department over the use of a government car, which had been resolved, but this had been followed by a complaint by a dietician that she had been rude. This was supposed to have been settled at a meeting between the two, but she had been accused of not attending a meeting she knew nothing about, and after another hearing which took place without her, she had been issued with a dismissal letter on 28 November.
The dismissal letter had no date or venue of the hearing, which meant there could easily have not been any hearing. She was given five days to appeal, and had appealed on 30 November. She had asked for the minutes of the hearing and the records of the dismissal meeting, but these were never received. She was officially dismissed on 11 December, but found out that her benefits were suspended on 30 November. She wanted to know how HR knew that she would be dismissed, and when she had asked for the minutes of her appeal process, these minutes were never given. She was dismissed with no correct procedure followed.
Furthermore, there was an instance of a doctor who had sex with a nurse in Site B hospital. This doctor used a drip to drug her and have sex with her in the hospital. The doctor had been suspended for three months, and the management had said it was consensual sex. This doctor still worked at the hospital, compared to Ms Mdekazi, who had been dismissed with a clean record.
Kiewiets petition on Khayelitsha Hospital
Ms Damaris Kiewiets, Chairperson: Cape Metropole Health Forum, and “whistleblower” on the KHD situation, started her oral testimony by stating that what the department was really good at was victimisation and manipulation. There were people being used by the department, and what was happening in Khayelitsha had in fact already been happening before that at Tygerberg Hospital, where it had all started. There were records that showed how the department would manipulate staff members.
The first death in Khayelitsha had happened eight months after the hospital had opened, and they then began to ask questions. She had blown the whistle because of the amount of stock outs, the deaths in Khayelitsha, and the one patient who had been lying on the floor at KDH for three days without being attended to. In 2015, when the new MEC was appointed, things were being investigated and the MEC had said that the health committee was angry because it had lost funding. The department had not engaged with the community of Khayelitsha over what what was happening in the hospital.
What the department did was position their favourites, box you and place you somewhere for them to use you. This was the reality at all levels within the department. The situation in Khayelitsha currently was that people were scared and fearful. The people responsible for Khayelitsha were the same people firing nurses in Site C in April of 2014. The person who was responsible for maladministration in Khayelitsha, was the same person in Emfuleni. The department was able to manipulate people. Khayelitsha was just one of these facilities, but there were other facilities with this problem, but people were too scared to speak. It was then important that the Ministers who were doing nothing be exposed, because this was gross corruption.
Public Service Commission
Dr Moeletsi Leballo, Public Service Commissioner, said the PSC’s investigation had been grounded upon Constitutional values and principles. There had been a step by step investigation process and overall findings and specific recommendations. The constitutional values and principles included professional culture and professional behaviour, oversight and good human resources management, and career development.
The PSC investigative team had engaged all affected parties during this investigation, and gathered all the necessary information. The process included:
- A preliminary meeting conducted with NEHAWU leadership at the institution level. This took place on 8 March 2018.
- Development of terms of reference for the investigation.
- Investigative meetings conducted with all parties – NEHAWU, the Khayelitsha District Hospital management, and metropole management]. These meetings on 19 and 20 March were conducted to gather oral evidence directly from the complainants, the leadership of the institution and the regional management.
- Scrutiny of all documentary evidence provided by all parties. NEHAWU provided evidence and the HR unit of the substructure provided evidence.
- Analysis of evidence and drafting of the report. This included additional evidence requested from the substructure HR unit, and requesting other relevant information.
- Submission of the report to the PSC Chairperson, the NCOP Chairperson, and engagement with all parties on the content and recommendations.
Feedback sessions were conducted with each of the parties, including the MEC and HoD of Health. The content of the report was discussed and questions responded to by the investigative team. This took place on 5 and 6 June.
The overall findings in brief were:
- The PSC found that there was merit in most of the allegations made by NEHAWU.
- However, the severity and veracity of certain conclusions drawn by NEHAWU were contestable.
- The PSC found that while the facts around specific allegations differed, it nonetheless pointed to a level of procedural or systemic failures.
- In the case of employment equity targets, it pointed to a policy review to be undertaken by the department.
- The decision-making processes were highly questionable in the case of annual leave payouts and the continued utilisation of retired staff.
Department of Labour
Ms Aggy Moiloa, Acting Director General: Department of Labour (DoL), said there had been issues with employment conditions. There was limited involvement when it came to labour issues. In terms of the Labour Relations Act, for example, the bargaining council was there. In respect of employment equity, the DoL had a mandate to make sure that institutions complied. The Department would come in to do a thorough inspection of these issues. It did not have a mandate to give institutions racial quotas, but did give recommendations and had an inspector who would go to KDH to conduct an employment inspection, and a report would be provided. The Department would provide feedback to the committee.
The second issue concerned occupational health and safety, and there was a mandate for employees and employers not to be subjected to an unsafe working environment. An occupational health inspector would come in and see what was happening at KDH.
Advocate Ntseki said that in respect of employment conditions, the Department had limited involvement in terms of the LRA regarding the public service, but there were the bargaining councils that existed for this. They would have some of the individual cases followed through all the processes and then reports would be sent to the CCMA. NEHAWU could assist by ensuring that these individual cases were taken to the relevant people. These cases should be referred to the labour court and then these issues could be corrected. The Department of Labour would continue to assist with guidance, and offered their assistance in this regard.
Ms Oliphant asked that phone numbers be shared between NEHAWU and the Dol to continue this work.
Mr Sigogo addressed the issue of recruitment and selection, and said that the recommendation on that matter had to be revoked for an interim period. The information given to the Commission had not been true, because the people doing the recruitment at KDH were the same people who had complaints against them, and no training had been provided to managers or supervisors. Regarding the quality assurance manager post, the contract had been terminated but the post had not been advertised. They had received no policy on employment equity from the Department, and it had not been circulated across the institution.
Dr Witbooi said the PSC had mentioned that the R60 000 care award given to KDH had not been used because of the IMLC collapse. Why did it take so many years to have a plan and spend that money? Was the money still in its original place? Regarding the failure of the IMLC to reconvene, NEHAWU could not sit with people who had no interest in resolving the issues. They had provided evidence that showed the failures, and why the IMLC kept collapsing. There were certain issues and things that they had wanted to know about -- why could this information not be made available, even if there was no IMLC meeting?
As the petitioners had mentioned, there had been an update on the implementation of the recommendations, and he hoped that the Commission would respond to some of the issues that were not mentioned in its report. That there was a doctor who was not expelled but got three months’ suspension for raping a nurse -- why was this not in the report? The Department of Labour should help on the issue of someone being expelled over something that did not make sense at all. The proper channels must be followed, because how could someone be fired and there was no sign of a paper trail? There had been nothing of these issues in the report.
The Chairperson asked Ms Mdekazi if she had asked why HR had cut her benefits before she was dismissed. Did she have evidence that her benefits were cut before she was officially dismissed?
Ms Mdekazi responded that she had an sms that said she had been dismissed. She had asked the management why they had cut her benefits, and they had said they did not know anything.
Ms Oliphant said that the morale of the staff was very low because when one woke up and went to work, and did not know what would happen to you, that was not a nice experience. She wanted to know if there were enough resources at the hospital, because as much as the staff was undermined, the community was also being undermined. Policies were not always followed, but they must be followed. Junior staff members must understand policy. This was very important. Her advice to shop stewards was that they must teach members to not accept a hearing with just a phone call. The hearing had to be advised in a letter so that the person being called in could prepare for the case, and it must be stated in the letter why the hearing was happening. She felt like she could cry, because she was from there. There was a hit list, so now the question was, who would be next? Corruption had to be ended, because greed made people change.
Mr Paul Rockman, from the Office of the PSC, said the frame of the investigation had been strictly related to the petition that NEHAWU had made to the NCOP. Things had been said here that were not in the petition. In their process, the PSC had been open and transparent to all parties, and open with all the evidence. They had spoken to NEHAWU, and there had been allegations that pointed to the systemic issues at the hospital. In every single instance, the Commission had all the documentation.
The Chairperson said no decision would be made here today. The Committee would meet again. When doing investigations, it was important to follow up with individual people. There was a need to make sure that people did what was necessary. This investigation had to be done more efficiently. The secretary must write a letter to the sub-structure so that all of the names mentioned here are protected. Also, there was a no need to take leave when summoned by Parliament -- that was illegal. The Committee was allowed to summon anybody to come and account. Those who were supposed to come here would come, even the Provincial Executive Council (PEC) and the Premier, if the Committee needs them.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Investigative Report: NEHAWU Complaints against the Management of Khayelitsha District Hospital 23 April 2018
- National Education Health & Allied Workers Union petition
- Witness submission
- NEHAWU Khayelitsha District Hospital branch petition
- Public Service Commission - Khayelitsha District Hospital ivestigation