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HPCSA boss suspended one day, unsuspended the next; wants legal costs paid

Newly appointed health minister Joe Phaahla has lifted the precautionary suspension of <strong>Health Professions Council of SA's</strong> registrar and CEO David Motau. Last Thursday (5 August) the then acting Health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi placed Motau on precautionary suspension, effective immediately.

Motau has written to newly appointed health minister Joe Phaahla and the council asking for an undertaking that they will pay the legal costs of an urgent application he filed to have his suspension lifted.

Phaahla lifted Motau’s suspension on Tuesday after an ultimatum from Motau's lawyer Neville Gawula to either lift the suspension or face legal action.

Last Thursday (5 August), the then acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi placed Motau on precautionary suspension, effective immediately.

According to TimesLIVE, Motau's suspension followed his appearance in a Bloemfontein court last Monday, where he was charged with the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. He was released on bail of R5,000.

Motau's attorney Neville Gawula said his client received the letter on Tuesday afternoon saying his precautionary suspension had been lifted. He reported for duty on Wednesday (11 August).

Gawula said his client would go ahead with the urgent application if the minister and the HPCSA did not give an undertaking to cover the legal costs.

Motau has said he will plead not guilty to any charges. He was charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act and says there are no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution against him. The charges relate to his former stint as head of the Free State health department.

His lawyers said any allegations of financial irregularity at that department predated Motau's tenure there by some three years, and that when he’d first heard of the allegations, he was at the forefront of having them investigated. He was in his third year of the job when he was contacted by the auditor-generalʼs office about financial irregularities: alleged collusion between departmental staff and external individuals or entities, whereby the department paid for services not rendered.

Motau had immediately asked the provincial finance department to investigate the matter, as his department did not have the capacity to do so internally.

TimesLIVE notes that the Hawks investigated the complaint between 2016 and 2021. On Friday 30 July 2021, the commercial crimes unit contacted Motau and said a warrant of arrest had been issued for him and he was to be in court by Monday 2 August 2021.

“There is nothing in the charge sheet relating to fraud, corruption, racketeering, maladministration, nor any of the foregoing subsets/synonyms levelled against our client, as erroneously and/or deliberately reported in the media …" the lawyers said.

TimesLIVE article – HPCSA CEO wants employer, health department to pay legal costs of suspension challenge (Open access)

 

TimesLIVE article – New health minister, Joe Phaahla lifts suspension of HPCSA registrar David Motau

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

New CEO of HPCSA charged in R8.7m fraud and corruption case; now suspended

 

Free State and Limpopo Health officials in court for fraud

 

Free State Health defies Motsoaledi on ambulance outsourcing

 

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