Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo (47) was charged with fraud, forgery, and uttering after The East London-based Serious Corruption Investigation team of the Hawks arrested him on 24 April 2024.

It is alleged that in March 2002, Sizwe Kupelo applied for employment at the office of the Premier in Bisho as a Communication Officer and was successfully employed in April 2002. In November of the same year, he was allegedly appointed by the Department of Health in Bhisho as a Deputy Director of Communications.

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In November 2002, Kupelo was appointed by the Eastern Cape Department of Health in Bhisho as a Deputy Director in the Communications unit. It is further reported that in 2020, the Department of Health conducted a skills and qualifications audit on all employees appointed by the Department where it was established that during the time of his employment, Kupelo never had a matric certificate. He instead allegedly submitted a fraudulent certificate during his employment.

The matter was referred by the Department of Health to the Hawks for a thorough probe which confirmed the allegations. In 2022, Kupelo was suspended by the department on allegations of submitting a fraudulent matric certificate when he was hired. However, he was later cleared by the department’s disciplinary committee, which found no proof in the claims.

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Kupelo was arrested by the Hawks on 24 April 2024. He made his short appearance at Zwelitsha Magistrates’ Court and was released on R30 000 bail to reappear in the same court on 30 April 2024 for a Regional court date. The Provincial Head Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya lauded the team for showing no fear or favour when carrying out their investigative duties. Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth’s spokesperson, Mkhululi Ndamase, said the department welcomes any move that promotes good and clean governance. “However, because this is now a criminal matter handled by the elite crime-fighting unit, the department cannot, and will not, comment further on the matter. The department will cooperate with any investigation that seeks to strengthen the integrity of the services that we render to the people of the Eastern Cape.”

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