KZN govt names Covid-19 contracts scorers, paid R17m to unknown firms

The KwaZulu-Natal government paid R17 million of its total R2.1 billion expenditure on Covid-19 to companies for which it has no details, Premier Sihle Zikalala said.

This emerged as the provincial government on Thursday released its report on the owners and directors it paid around R2.1 billion to during the Covid-19 pandemic up to 31 August.

It also does not yet have the ownership details of companies which did business with municipalities because of different IT systems, but said this is a work in progress.

Zikalala said the point of releasing the report was not to be judgmental, but to get an understanding of how the money was spent and who benefitted, particularly in light of transformation goals.

Four companies which received R3 878 720 in total were also found to have not been on its database. One, called Bellanova, received R3.8 million, Contichem Stanger got R2 520, a Dr Mohamed R720 and Dis-Chem R480.

Zikalala said these would be further investigated and speculated that the Dis-Chem payment, for example, may have been a petty cash expense.

The media was also paid during this time, with the SABC, Independent Media, and Ilanga among them.

A question about a company called PLZ projects with "Zulu princess Zinhle" listed as the owner appeared to ruffle feathers at the press conference, and the briefing was quickly wrapped up.

An analysis of recipients of contracts during Covid-19 also gave insight into the races and genders of people who got the work.

  1. Black R810m (38.43%);

  2. Indian R622m (29.5%);

  3. Companies owned by others (subsidiaries) R568m (26%);

  4. White R37.9m (1.8%);

  5. Mixed ownership R31.3m (1.49%);

  6. No details R17m (0.84%);

  7. Coloured R10m (0.51%);

  8. Asian 9.71m (0.46%)

Companies in which women held a stake of 50% or more scored contracts to the value of R687 411 880, representing 33% of the total spend.

Businesses in which youth owned 50% or more of the company were awarded deals to the value of R310 786 509, representing 15% of the total spend.

Four companies – named as Aramiya (R82 380), Khanyisile Agency (R1.7 million), and Ntandoyenkosi Holdings (R67 448) – registered at the end of March, as the first cases of Covid-19 and the need for essential items became evident.

When pressed for further comment on some of the contracts awarded, the press conference was ended.

Zikalala reiterated that the State Security Agency (SSA) and the South African Revenue Service (Sars) would assist with the separate matter of lifestyle audits of government officials.

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