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Gupta-linked Thabo Lekalakala fired from NW Health HOD post

The former HOD is said to have overseen an irregular multi-million rand deal to Mediosa for mobile health services across the North West province.

FILE: Former North West Department of Health HOD Thabo Lekalakala. Picture: health.nwpg.gov.za

JOHANNESBURG – Former North West Health head of department (HOD) Thabo Lekalakala has been fired.

Lekalakala, who is a medical doctor, was suspended over allegations of corruption and links to state capture through underhanded dealings with controversial business family, the Guptas, in 2018.

The former HOD is said to have overseen an irregular multi-million rand deal to Mediosa for mobile health services across the North West province.

He also allegedly went on an all-expenses-paid trip to India, which was funded by the Guptas, a week after a payment of R30 million was made to the company for services it had not rendered.

While serving as a member of the health portfolio committee in the North West Provincial Legislature, the current Health MEC Madoda Sambatha said Lekalakala had confessed to misleading the then MEC, Dr Magome Masike, and former Premier Supra Mahumapelo by going on the Gupta-sponsored trip and branding it an official expedition.

When asked by the committee to present proof of the contract, Sambatha said Lekalakala failed to produce it.

“A government legal document is taken away from a department without formal processes and no other person knows where it is.”

Lekalakala is also accused of misrepresenting his qualifications and did not qualify for the post when he applied in 2015. For this, he also faces fraud charges.

OUT OF THE OFFICE INTO THE COURTROOM

Last month, Lekalakala appeared in the Molopo Magistrate Court where he faced charges relating to an investigation into fraud, corruption and the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) allegations against him.

He is currently out on R5,000 bail.

In August 2019, Lekalakala was arrested for fraud and appeared before the Mmabatho Regional Court on charges of fraud and was released on R20,000 bail.

At the time, he had been arrested with the former MEC for Finance Wendy Nelson in the case of his alleged irregular appointment to the position of HOD in 2014.

It’s alleged the 57-year-old lied about his qualifications and did not qualify for the position.

Lekalakala is expected back in court on 12 February 2020.

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