Mpumalanga Health MEC Gillion Mashego has been criticised for allegedly issuing a directive for the appointment of a woman as a cleaner at a hospital after her mother was killed by a state ambulance, it emerged on Wednesday.
Documents seen by the African News Agency (ANA) show that Elphinah Masemola, 35, was appointed as a cleaner at KwaMhlanga Hospital at the beginning of this month at a salary of R84,096 per annum.
Her appointment sparked an outcry within and outside the department that saw the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) launching an investigation into the matter.
Masemola’s mother, whose name was not revealed, died in August 2014 when she was knocked down by an ambulance in Zakheni Village near KwaMhlanga. Two sisters of Masemola were also injured in the same accident.
ANA has also seen a copy of an email communicating what appeared to be Mashego’s directive relating to Masemola’s appointment.
The email further revealed that Mashego also spearheaded a project to build a house for the Masemola family.
“During the handover of the house on July 12, 2016, it was apparent that the children of the late Ms Masemola were in a destitute state of affairs,” read the email in part.
“The MEC directed that the department should intervene by employing one of the family members because the mother who died was a breadwinner.”
Masemola on Tuesday declined to comment on her appointment, but admitted that she was questioned by members the Hawks.
“They asked me what happened at home and how I got this job,” she said.
Provincial spokeswoman for the Hawks, Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, confirmed that the investigation was underway and said no one has yet been charged.
“The investigation started when we received allegations that a woman was appointed unprocedurally at KwaMhlanga Hospital. We are still taking the statements based on whoever the allegations are made against,” she said.
Provincial Health department spokesman Dumisani Malamule said Mashego only mitigated in a process he initiated after the department and the Masemola family reached an agreement that the latter should build a house and employ one of the family members.
He said the department saved a lot of money by building a house and employing Masemola as her family could have sued it for R20 million as a result of the accident.
“The family asked us to employ one of their members. The MEC was mitigating and what he did was lawful. We identified a vacant post and there was no need to advertise it,” he said.
Nkangala district chairperson of the Congress of the People, Mathews Masilela, said Masemola’s job was supposed to be advertised so that other people could also apply.
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