by Dr Isak Fritz, MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson for Health
Date: 23 January 2018
Type: Press Statement
The DA is calling on Health MEC, Lebogang Motlhaping, and Premier, Sylvia Lucas, to ensure that urgent disciplinary steps are taken against the HOD of Health, Steven Jonkers, and that he is ultimately removed from the influential position that he currently holds.
This comes amidst the department’s controversial appointment of Defensor Security Services, despite the department not having funds to finance the contract that is said to be worth R234 million.
The DA firmly believes that Jonkers, who is a staunch John Block supporter and has enjoyed the protection of a powerful element within the ANC, was strategically placed in the Health Department last year, after he won a labour dispute that initially saw him removed as the HOD of Transport, Safety and Liaison.
We also strongly suspect that Jonkers is part of the “state capture gang” and that he was specifically tasked with facilitating the appointment of Defensor Security, amongst other things, that will ultimately benefit a select few at the expense of the sick and vulnerable people of the Northern Cape.
Jonkers was initially placed in the Health Department as a so-called “administrator”. This didn’t make sense at all, considering that Jonkers has a terrible track record in good financial management, which is the key skill required of an administrator.
In this regard, Jonkers entered into a number of questionable deals during his time as the HOD of the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison. In fact, it was Jonkers who went ahead with the forbidden lease of the Ocean Echo building despite an instruction to the contrary from then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan. It was also Jonkers who advocated for the doomed intra-provincial airline that resulted in millions of rands worth of irregular and unauthorized expenditure. And it was Jonkers who pursued the dubious multi-million rand deal with Wilcovert, for the expenditure of money intended for road safety initiatives on furniture and donkey carts.
It is increasingly clear that Jonkers is a pawn in the corruption game and that his continued control over funds intended for health care, will spell nothing but doom and gloom for the embattled Health Department.
After all, what good are security services when there is no money to appoint doctors and nurses, when there is nothing to eat for sick patients but bread and pap, and when there is no oxygen, a shortage of life-saving medicines and basic medical supplies due to the inability of the department to pay suppliers?
In order to prevent health services in the province from coming to a standstill, Jonkers must be removed from the helm of the Health Department as a matter of urgency.
The people of the Northern Cape deserve a new government and a new beginning under a DA government that ensures that the people’s money is used responsibly and that health services take care of our people.