Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke has outlined issues found on contracts for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Maluleke on Wednesday released the second report on the financial management of government’s COVID-19 initiatives.
The report is a follow-up on the first report published in September.
Maluleke says they found that some PPE were procured at prices that were higher than market-related rates.
“The tax affairs of some of the suppliers that benefited from these contracts were not in order, that was against the law in that anybody who gets a government contract should have their tax affairs in order, in fact, there is a requirement that you have a tax clearance certificate. We found that the processes of procurement were not always fair and not always treating different bidders in a fair and equal manner. We found instances in many provinces of prices that were paid for PPE that were higher than the market prices that were determined by the National Treasury.”
Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke gives update on COVID-19 relief funds audit:
In July, allegations of PPE tender corruption emerged from several parts of the country.
In the Eastern Cape:
The Eastern Cape provincial government came under fire following several allegations of corruption.
The allegations ranged from the use of a guest house owned by a politician’s daughter as an isolation facility to payments by the OR Tambo district municipality, improper procurement of sanitisers and the scooter project.
But these allegations were rejected by those who were fingered.
The scooters project is alleged to have cost the provincial health department R10-million.
The scooters were aimed at transporting COVID-19 patients but Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the scooters do not qualify to transport patients as they do not meet the requirements.
The President promised the nation that the law enforcement agencies will deal with crimes related to money set aside to fight the pandemic
The tender was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects – owned by Amabaca King Madzikazi II Thandisizwe, who is Khusela Diko’s husband.
Some media reports suggested that the company was established in January 2019 and had no track record of supplying PPE
Gauteng Premier David Makhura fired Health MEC Bandile Masuku in October.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said senior officials implicated in corruption will be held accountable to ensure clean governance.
The Department of Social Development allegedly misappropriated COVID-19 related funds.
The provincial government launched investigations into the awarding of two tenders to supply blankets for the homeless and personal protective equipment.
The investigations have since uncovered irregularities of nearly R30 million.
A total of 48 000 blankets were procured, but only 4 982 had been delivered at the time of the investigations.
In the Free State:
There have been media reports suggesting that those close to former Free State Premier and current African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, have benefitted from Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tenders worth millions in the province.
At least seven companies with links to those close to Magashule have been awarded PPE tenders in the province.
But the provincial Treasury maintains the procurement processes were followed in line with the instruction notes of the National Treasury for emergency procurement of COVID-19 PPEs.
Provincial Chief Director for Assets and Liabilities, Tshepo Mabilo, said nothing prohibits family members of government employees from doing business with the State.
Meanwhile, the ANC’s alliance partner, the South African Communist Party (SACP), has called for an investigation
Provincial health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana confirmed that COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders worth over R900 million were not advertised by the department, but the names were supplied to the department of health by the provincial Treasury.
Shikwambana says the company names were hand-picked from the database of the provincial Treasury.
There are allegations that among the 216 companies awarded the tenders, some belong to government officials, the friends and relatives of senior politicians, while others did not qualify.
One of the companies is alleged to be based in KwaZulu-Natal and is said to have been given a R180 million tender.
Meanwhile, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), wants the provincial government officials and senior politicians, fingered in the allegations of irregular awarding of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment tender to put on special leave.
The Limpopo Health Department says it will publish a list of companies that received Personal Protective Equipment contracts worth more than R400 million.
SUI probe PPE tender corruption:
The Special Tribunal of South Africa granted the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) an urgent order freezing R38.7 million held in the bank accounts of 40 Gauteng-based companies.
According to the tribunal, the companies are involved in the implementation of the contract for the supply and delivery of various COVID-19 PPEs.
Tribunal spokesperson Selby Makgotho said the Gauteng Health Department has also been interdicted from making any further payments to the 40 implicated companies.
Below is a timeline of COVID-19 related corruption:
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