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Steps to end corruption in the health sector

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The new multi-disciplinary Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum will prevent, detect, and prosecute fraud and corruption in the public and private health sectors.

Launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on 1 October, the forum brings together civil society, health sector role players and government entities. These are the Department of Health, Council for Medical Schemes, the Financial Intelligence Centre, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Health Professions Council of South Africa, Board of Healthcare Funders, Health Funders Association, Section 27 and Corruption Watch.

The forum is an outcome of the Presidential Health Summit held last year in which corruption was identified as one of the biggest issues in the sector.

President Ramaphosa said the forum will allow people to report the misuse of state resources, such as ambulances, and issues related to procurement corruption.

He said the victims of corruption in the healthcare system are the most impoverished in our society. Corruption in this sector, he said, not only violates people’s constitutional rights but, in some cases, even costs lives.

The SIU will investigate allegations of corruption that are brought forward.

Head of the SIU Advocate Andy Mothibi said his organisation has identified the registration and accreditation of health professionals as an area where corruption is most rampant.

He said they have already started their investigations and will work towards  recovering funds lost to corruption.

The NPA’s National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, said they will prioritise cases of corruption referred to it by the SIU. “The forum was established so that we can fight rampant corruption in the health sector,” Batohi said.

She said for the forum to succeed, there must be enhanced collaboration between all role players.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize said the forum will protect the National Health Insurance from corruption.

To report corruption, can call the Presidential Hotline on 17737 or the Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701.