Gupta family used health department as ‘ATM’, says SA health minister

PARLIAMENT, March 2 – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday described the Gupta-linked Mediosa clinic in the North West Province as an ATM card through which the politically-connected fugitive family was withdrawing money from the health department.
Motsoaledi was on a walkabout at the clinic, which received an upfront payment of R30 million from the North West health department to provide mobile clinic services.

“The health service in South Africa does not need this service at all. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be wrong to characterise it as an ATM card through which the Gupas are withdrawing money from the department of health. Unfortunately, I can’t describe it in any other way,” Motsoaledi told reporters on Friday.

The minister said given that health services were in “dire straits” given a tight budget due to pressures on the national fiscus, the contract with the Gupta-linked company should be cancelled.

“Our health facilities are congested because we have so many people to see…we don’t have any spare money to do what is being done here,” he said.

“I really ask that this service be terminated forthwith. Whoever entered into this contract must find a way to terminate it because it’s not a service that SA needs at all.”

Parliament’s health portfolio committee also on Friday issued a statement saying it would be calling the national and provincial department heads to the national legislature to account for the use of private companies to provide public services, including the use of private ambulances for emergency medical services meant to be provided by the government.

“We are not taking this kindly and it is unacceptable. We will not allow corruption to rear its ugly head in the health sector.”

Last month, the Hawks announced they were investigating the Mediosa project. Reports have also emerged that workers at the clinic were not paid their February salaries.

– African News Agency (ANA)