Pelonomi Hospital gets security overhaul

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CATHY DLODLO

The Free State Health department is going to give Pelonomi Hospital a security overhaul.

This follows after an investigation into possible irregularities has been completed. Free State Premier Ace Magashule launched the investigation in December last year after he had made a startling discovery of much needed consumables and medical equipment that were gathering dust in a storeroom at the hospital. The discovery came amid a health crisis in the province that led to the shortage of medication and a serious backlog in maintenance of medical equipment.

Free State Health MEC Benny Malakoane said in an interview with Courant the investigation has been completed and a total of six employees have been suspended. He said the investigation found that employees who have been stealing from the hospital either sell or take stolen goods for personal use. They are possibly working in groups.

Malakoane said several senior managers in the security unit have been interviewed and the department is looking into changing the whole security system. "Some of them (security guards and/or managers) are going to be redeployed and some will be subjected to closer investigation," said Malakoane. Meanwhile three employees of the hospital appeared in court on Tuesday.

They were facing charges of theft. Elias Mafahla was released on warning, Mpho Nteo and Phineous Mathebula were arrested two weeks ago, following a police raid at scrap metal businesses in East End Bloemfontein. The police seized stolen medical and office equipment with an estimated value of more than R200 000. The case was postponed to 30 April when Nteo and Mathebula are expected to apply for bail. Mafahla was released on warning on Friday after he had fallen ill after their first court appearance. He was then admitted to hospital. Nteo and Mathebula remain in custody. Malakoane said the suspects are part of the group of employees who have been suspended.

cathy@centralmediagroup.co.za