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GAUTENG HEALTH TO ENHANCE ACCESS CONTROL AND EMPLOYEE VERIFICATION PROCESSES

Thabo Bodibe 

To reinforce security and integrity across its institutions, the Gauteng Department of Health will in soon introduce robust measures to enhance access control and streamline employee identification procedures. 

These proactive steps have been instigated in response to a recent incident involving an impersonator who falsely claimed to be a medical professional and exploited the popular social media platform TikTok.

Operating under the pseudonym ‘Dr Matthew Lani,’ the accused, portrayed himself as an employee of the Department of Health, fraudulently assuming various medical roles. 

In a statement issued on Monday, the provincial department said the bogus doctor managed to infiltrate the system and cunningly posed as an employee of Helen Joseph Hospital while actively curating medical content for social media.

The department disclosed that ‘Dr Matthew Lani’ had briefly collaborated with them in June 2022 during a campaign, part of the Youth Month commemorations, where young medical professionals were invited to submit video clips reflecting on what it meant to be born after 1994, known as “born-frees.”

At that time, the department said there were no indicators of his true identity.

“Lani was one of the participants, and this was the only time the department ever worked with him. At the time, nothing raised suspicion that he was not employed at the facility,” the department explained. 

In October 2022, Lani recorded a video expressing grievances about non-payment as a medical intern at Helen Joseph Hospital. 

According to the department, this complaint came to the department’s attention and was subsequently referred to the hospital’s management for investigation. 

Following this, Lani was contacted by the CEO and asked to present himself at the facility’s human resource unit to address his concerns.

He confirmed that his matter was receiving attention and even deleted the video he had posted on TikTok at the time as he felt it was drawing unnecessary attention.

Further investigations revealed that ‘Dr Matthew Lani’ had claimed to be ‘Dr Sanele Zingelwa’, a name that belongs to a legitimate second-year medical intern at Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital. 
Under the alias’ Dr Sanele Zingelwa,’ Lani concocted a false narrative concerning a substantial number of individuals supposedly admitted to Helen Joseph Hospital after consuming a particular weight-loss pill. 

This claim prompted The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to initiate an investigation in August 2023, only to find no evidence to support such allegations.

In response to the identity theft, the genuine Dr Sanele Sobani Vambani Zingelwa lodged a case of identity fraud with the Tembisa Police Station.

Furthermore, on 9 October 2023, the department took legal action against Lani, lodging a criminal case at the Brixton Police Station. 

This action aligns with the amended Health Professions Act, Act No. 56 of 1974, which stipulates that practicing without being registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa is a criminal offense. Additionally, anyone who falsely uses any name, title, description, or symbol suggesting a qualification they do not possess may be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both upon conviction.

Photo cred:SABC

ARTICLE SOURCED FROM THE GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT WEBSITE.

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