Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba, who faces charges relating to a scandal over alleged misuse of funds meant for former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013, has been axed by premier Oscar Mabuyane.
Mabuyane made this announcement during a media briefing on Thursday. She has been replaced by co-operative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha.
Gomba’s firing comes after Mabuyane was instructed during the provincial working committee of the province that he had to deal urgently with tainted members in his executive.
Before her appointment as health MEC, Gomba had faced a range of political embarrassments and allegations of corruption. In December 2017, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a damning report that exposed how officials in the Buffalo City metro misused money intended for service delivery, including ablution facilities, the refurbishment of schools, water, electricity and sanitation, under the guise of the Mandela funeral.
Mkhwebane found R300-million had been misappropriated by the Eastern Cape government. Last week, Gomba and others were released on bail in the East London court for charges related to the misuse of funds meant for Mandela’s funeral. The charges stem from when Gomba was a deputy mayor in Buffalo City metro.
Gomba has also faced criticism for her health department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, most notably the disastrous R10-million “ambulance scooter” project.
The project, which was launched with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, last year provided scooters intended to transport patients. These did not meet basic requirements for patient transport as an ambulance.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.
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