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Madonsela begins Dhlomo investigation

The Public Protector will be investigating the KZN Health MEC’s usage of a medical helicopter in 2012.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office has confirmed that it was investigating KwaZulu Natal health MEC Sibogiseni Dhlomo, for commandeering the province's only emergency helicopter for personal use.

Dhlomo was criticised for his use of the helicopter, following reports that it was unavailable to a family that had been in a fatal car accident.

15-year-old Asheen Maharaj, who later died in hospital, was left brain-dead following a car crash near Pinetown.

His parents and sister died instantly.

Kgalalelo Masibi, who is from the Public Protector's office said, "The complaint was lodged in terms of the Executive Members Ethics Act and the Act says that the Public Protector must investigate."

Masibi said Madonsela had already started with a preliminary investigation on the matter.

'MKHIZE TO DECIDE MKHIZE'S FATE'

Meanwhile the KwaZulu-Natal Premier ,Zweli Mkhize's office had previously said that he was waiting for an official report before he decides on Dhlomo's future.

The Sunday Tribune reported that Dhlomo used the province's sole state-contracted medical rescue helicopter when it was needed for critically injured accident victims.

The Premier's office spokesperson Ndabe Sibiya said "Once he has received a formal report, he will make a pronouncement."

It emerged that the MEC used it to fly to a funeral.

The KZN Health Department head had earlier claimed he had flown to Hlabisa to quell community unrest.