Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Thursday announced the appointment of more than 100 new CEOs for public hospitals, fulfilling his promise to ensure these positions are filled by qualified people.
A review of hospital managers published by the Department of Health in 2011 found that some CEOs were political appointees, with neither healthcare nor managerial qualifications. Some provincial health departments had appointed former teachers to run complex bodies with multimillion-rand budgets.
According to the review, two percent of hospital CEOs had matric as their highest qualification.
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Dr Motsoaledi introduced regulations stipulating the minimum qualifications and experience required of hospital managers.
Last year 92 CEO posts were advertised by the national health department and 30 by the provincial departments. A key requirement was for candidates to be healthcare professionals.
Dr Motsoaledi said on Thursday that 102 new CEOs had been appointed with effect from February 1, and would begin with training at the department’s new Academy of Health and Leadership.
Recruitment had taken longer than expected because the government was looking for the "very best quality", he said.
"In some instances we would interview for hours on end but end up not appointing because nobody was found to be appropriate. Up to today there are hospitals where we could not as yet appoint and the head-hunting process continues," Dr Motsoaledi said.
Eastern Cape health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said on Thursday CEOs making way for better-qualified managers had been transferred elsewhere in the department. "There were no golden handshakes," he said.
"No more will we have teachers or such people running hospitals. We must get people who know what happens on an operating table in theatre," he said.
Western Cape hospitals were exempted from the process, after health MEC Theuns Botha and Dr Motsoaledi met last year.