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King removes Dr Simon Zwane as Health PS, appoints Khanya Mabuza

By Nokunceda Magagula

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His Majesty King Mswati III on Wednesday appointed Khanyakwezwe Mabuza as the new Ministry of Health Principal Secretary, replacing Simon Zwane.

Zwane has been transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to fill the void that was left by retired Principal Secretary Clifford Mamba.

The King’s order was conveyed by Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini at the Cabinet Offices during a press conference. The Prime Minister said that the King was pleased to appoint Mabuza, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA), as the new Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health.

Mabuza has worked for 25 years in the health sector. He began his CEO role at NERCHA in 2013. Since his appointment, Mabuza has worked tirelessly to improve partnerships internationally and regionally for HIV response. Under Mabuza’s leadership, Eswatini has maintained domestic resources despite the economic hardships.

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Mabuza holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health. He has also worked in the Civil Society Sector and also for the United Nations as the Assistant Country Representative. Mabuza is a renowned Public Health Specialist in International Health Systems and Health management.

He is also involved in the development of health systems, private sector response, disease control, and health politics. He has also conducted numerous studies on HIV and also papers on social grants, health, and community system response.

New Ministry of Health PS Khanyakwezwe Mabuza

The new PS is a member of the UNAIDS project on the future of the National AIDS Commission representing Southern Africa. He is a lead advisor for South to South on Health and HIV and Aids. He further acts as a member of the Institute of Directors in South Africa. Mabuza is the chairperson of the Covid-19 cluster in Eswatini.

Mabuza is a member of Business Health, Khulisa Umtfwana charity organization in Eswatini, a Council member of Lozitha Royal Chiefdom, and a former mayor of Mankayane Town Board.

Mabuza’s appointment was with effect from August 8, 2023, as announced by Prime Minister. Regarding Dr Zwane, the PM announced that His Majesty King Mswati III moved him to be the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and urban development. Zwane will resume his duty in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development on August 8, 2023.

Mabuza is entering his office at a time when the government of Eswatini has engaged Funduzi Forensic Services Proprietary Limited to conduct a forensic investigation into the supply of medicines to public health facilities.

The appointment has been rocked by accusations and negative media reports in recent weeks, necessitating the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkernberg to take action.

He said following the media reports, the Cabinet, on Tuesday, 01, met with the Auditor-General and representatives from Funduzi Forensic Services ‘to satisfy itself on the engagement processes.’

Dr Simon Zwane who has been removed from the Health Ministry to Housing and Urban Development

He mentioned that Cabinet also needed to satisfy itself that the recent media concerns did not have any impact on the possible outcomes of the forensic investigation and that the process was not tainted with illegality.

“After such engagement and after receiving further confirmation from the Office of the Auditor-General, my office, as Minister of Finance, was mandated to state to clear the air in this regard. I can confirm, based on information shared with Cabinet and my office, that the Office of the Auditor-General contracted a South African company operating as Funduzi Forensic Services (Registration number: 2017/3907/67/07) which tendered through its local extension registered company, also called Funduzi Forensic Services, (Registration number: 202210101025631) following a procurement process which was approved by the Eswatini Government Tender Board,” he said.

The minister also confirmed that as per the procedure, the company filed its tender bidding documents, where the statutory documentation submitted showed that they are local.

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“The Technical profile was appealing, with vast experience and technical expertise on the subject matter, which captured the interest of the Office of the Auditor General and rated them higher than their competitors for the bid,” he said.

Rijkernberg further confirmed that the engagement of Charles Kwezera, an Independent Contractor to Funduzi, was summarily terminated after the allegations of his improper and unlawful conduct came to the fore.

“The remaining Funduzi team are seasoned professionals, consisting of, amongst others, an Advocate of the South African High Court, a Medical Doctor, a Senior Pharmacist, Senior Forensic Practitioners and Forensic Accountants,” he confirmed.

He further confirmed that his office had been assured that the test of the outcomes of the forensic report would be the extent to which its findings and conclusions could be supported by independently verifiable evidence and not any other consideration, as it has been indirectly suggested in the media.

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