KwaZulu-Natal government releases list of companies awarded with COVID-19 tenders

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The KwaZulu-Natal government has released the names of companies and directors who benefited from COVID-19 related contracts.

Provincial government departments have spent R2 billion on procurement for COVID-19. The money was mainly for upgrades to various hospitals and facilities and for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

The KwaZulu-Natal government says they are investigating the awarding of COVID-19 contracts.

Last month, a report was released that made findings against the provincial department of social development. It showed that purchase orders for PPEs and blankets were issued to 11 service providers before accounting officers submitted their approval.

Some of the service providers also exceeded the maximum amount per item allowed by Treasury.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, has released another report detailing the race and gender of company directors who received COVID-19 contracts.

“This report is now updated to reflect total expenditure of just about R2.1 billion. Our analysis show that of this total spend, of R2.1 billion, a sum of R810 million was spent on African-owned companies. The total number of African-owned companies was 233 out of 392. The total of Indian-owned companies is 692 which is 29%. The analysis of the expenditure shows government spent on service providers, many who are well established,” says Zikalala.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala briefs media on outcome of investigation into price of PPEs:

Zikalala says several companies benefited from COVID-19 contracts despite not being officially listed on the central supply database.

“There were some suppliers whose ownership details were not registered on the Central Supply database and these companies are marked as no details in our table. They received the contract worth about R17 million. Out of the total spent of about R2.1 billion, blacks were awarded at a value of about R810 million, which is 38,43%. There were also companies with registration, companies that we found that were registered with a registration date being the end of March this year. We are following up on that because it means the company was registered maybe for just procuring the PPEs,” says Zikalala.

Zikalala says lifestyle audits are going to be done for senior officials.

“We have approached the State Security Agency and South African recover of revenue with a view of getting these institutions to assist us with this task and we have been advised through correspondence and will finalize the details to the process, but it will come from national government,” says Zikalala.

To date, irregularities have only been found in the Department of Social Development, where close to R30 million was misspent.

The department has suspended 11 officials. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is yet to issue a report on COVID-19 procurement at local government level.