Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal man has been found guilty and sentenced for defrauding the Department of Health.
Sibongiseni Gcwensa, of Gcinisa Construction and Cleaning Services, received an effective six-year suspended sentence after making 13 fraudulent claims, for work not done, worth R650 000.
He was contracted by the department to provide cleaning and security services to various hospitals.
Gcwensa was arrested on Friday by Durban's Commercial Crimes Unit and on Tuesday pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft. He is alleged to have colluded with staff from the department.
Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said at the time of Gcwensa's arrest, he paid back R500 000 to the department and promised to settle the remainder later.
The court also ordered Gcwensa to pay back the rest of the money.
The Health Department welcomed the sentence, saying it appreciated the speedy administration of justice served by the judicial system.
"We believe that it sends a strong message to all those who continue to defraud the state and this department in particular. This department will continue its investigations on the payments received by Gcwensa, totaling around R20 million over a four year period," added Maxon.
The department is also pleased that their recovery account is swelling rapidly as cases are solved one by one.
"We want to quickly reallocate those resources back to service delivery for provision of public health care and return some to the KZN Treasury coffers where necessary," said Maxon.
The Health Department's Chief Finance Officer, Ndoda Biyela, said: "The department's resolve and commitment to fighting fraud and corruption is very strong and unyielding. We will pursue his accomplices and work with law enforcement agencies to bring them to justice.
"If they keep stealing or misappropriating public funds, we will keep hunting them down, catching them, bringing them to Justice and sending them to jail."