The National Health Anti-Corruption Forum has been launched to curb fraud, waste and abuse in the healthcare sector. The initiative is collaboration between the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and other law enforcement bodies.
According to SIU head, Advocate Andy Mothibi, the health sector has been prioritised for investigation due to its susceptibility to corruption, fraudulent claims by doctors, pharmaceutical companies inflating prices, hijacking of ambulances and attacks on paramedics, among other things.
“We would like to improve the environment especially in the areas where there is fraud,” he said. However, Mothibi said they have not yet identified any hospitals to be investigated.
Apart from the health sector, the unit will also focus on the local government, construction, mining, transport and the finance sector.
The SIU was established in terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunal Act 74 of 1996. Its mission is to investigate serious malpractices or maladministration in the administration of the state with integrity, as well as any conduct which may seriously harm the interests of the public, and instituting and conducting civil proceedings in any court of law or a special tribunal in its own name or on behalf of state institutions.
Other law enforcement agencies involved in the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum includes the Hawks, the South African Revenue Services, the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Police Service and the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta)