The HPCSA’s Registrar and CEO, Dr David Motau (pictured above) will be back at work today after newly-appointed Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla lifted his precautionary suspension with immediate effect. Motau who was appointed as HPCSA CEO in June was placed on precautionary suspension last week by the then Acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi. It followed his earlier appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption amounting to R8 million. The charges relate to his tenure as Head of the Free State Health Department from 2013 to earlier this year.

Kubayi said his suspension was necessitated by the seriousness of the allegations and its ramifications to the health fraternity.

However, Phaahla sent a letter to Motau yesterday, telling him that that his precautionary suspension had been lifted with immediate effect and requesting that he report for duty on receipt of the letter.

It followed a letter Motau’s legal representative, Neville Gawula sent to the HPCSA’s President, Prof Simon Nemutandani saying that the charges against his client relate to financial irregularities committed before he became head of the Free State Health Department.

The charges relate to allegations of payments that were made to the department’s service providers between January 2011 and December 2015 with no services rendered for the payments.

Hawks’ spokesperson in the Free State, Phaladi Shuping, told Spotlight that Motau faces 44 counts of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act and one count of “accepting gratification”.  The fraud apparently came to light when the Auditor-General requested supporting documents from the Health Department.

After his court appearance, Dr Motau told Spotlight that he had inherited many of the problems relating to the contracts and tenders in the Free State Health Department, which the state alleges were corrupt deals, when he was appointed to the department and that he was “not aware of the alleged commission of such offences”.

He added that he is “solely being charged for being in contravention of sections in the Public Finance Management Act” and intends pleading not guilty.

The Free State Health Department has been regarded as one of the worst performing provincial health departments for years and was placed under administration from 2014 to 2018 during Dr Motau’s tenure as HOD.