AG clears Limpopo Health on PPE overspending allegations

The Limpopo department of health has been provisionally cleared of any wrongdoing in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the office of the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu. The department has been recently rocked by allegations of irregular awarding of PPE contracts to service providers, following allegations that some contracts had been awarded to friends, relatives, and or comrades. Now, however, the Auditor-General's 172-page "First Special Report on the Financial Management of Government's Covid-19 Initiatives" could not find anything untoward in the department's spending. The report also indicated that the department, under the political leadership of MEC Phophi Ramathuba, had...
The Limpopo department of health has been provisionally cleared of any wrongdoing in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the office of the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu.

The department has been recently rocked by allegations of irregular awarding of PPE contracts to service providers, following allegations that some contracts had been awarded to friends, relatives, and or comrades.

Now, however, the Auditor-General's 172-page "First Special Report on the Financial Management of Government's Covid-19 Initiatives" could not find anything untoward in the department's spending. The report also indicated that the department, under the political leadership of MEC Phophi Ramathuba, had procured all PPE within the provincial Treasury note.

Other factors of vital importance revealed by the report is that companies awarded the contracts had been found to have registered on the government's central database, and that all the budget allocated to the department was accounted for.

According to the report, between March 30 and June 30, provinces such as the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and Western Cape have had their orders with extended lead times. The departments procured PPE such as gowns, surgical masks, coveralls, face piece for respirators, aprons, face shields surgical cloves and sanitisers.

In Limpopo, the AG said the department issued orders that included the agreed times to the supplier. In an event where a supplier could not deliver the required PPE within the agreed lead time, he said the order was automatically terminated, unless extension of the delivery period was specifically granted.

"As a result, there were no examples of orders with extended lead times in the Limpopo provincial department of health," said Makwetu in the report.

Recently, there has been calls from several political parties, including the SACP, DA and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), calling for Ramathuba's axing. This after allegations that PPE contracts worth R932 million were supposedly irregularly awarded.

In light of this, Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha called for the expertise of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to probe the department. The SIU confirmed it was currently probing MEC Ramathuba's health department, MEC Pholley Boshielo's education department, and MEC Basikop Makamu's human settlements department.

Ramathuba welcomed the provisional report, saying she always had confidence in her team that all was above board.

"During the recent media briefing, our head of department promised that our department was clean and today she is a living proof.

"This should serve to those Doubting Thomases that we are running a clean government, we are an open book and we have nothing to hide. This should teach us that we must always be sure of our facts before pointing fingers," she said.

alexm@citizen.co.za

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.

This post is currently not accepting comments.