Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will this morning hold a meeting with all provincial Health MECs to discuss the procurement of COVID-19 related equipment, following allegations of impropriety in the awarding of some tenders for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Three African National Congress (ANC) members are on leave of absence after public outrage over a PPE tender that was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects.
Mboweni has said Treasury’s instructions on awarding of these tenders were disregarded.
He says, “It is very clear to me that we have to tighten the process, it is very clear to me that trust has been broken in some instances and it’s clear to the executive authority and the accounting officers that we must take decisive action.”
Mboweni says there’s a prima facie case to be made for probing the awarding of some tenders for COVID-19 PPE and law enforcement agencies must take action.
Mboweni made these comments while addressing a joint meeting of Parliament committees of Finance on the procurement of the equipment, following allegations of widespread corruption in the awarding of some tenders.
“It would appear that there is a prima facie case to be made that not in all instances was the Treasury instructions followed and that then becomes the subject of the administrative system the subject for the political or the executive authorities to follow up with the accounting officers secondly it is now up to the law enforcement agencies to follow up on those companies which were awarded the tenders on what was done wrong to ensure that the culprits are brought to book,” says Mboweni.
He says the process of awarding as well as companies that won contracts will be scrutinised on various aspects.
“Whether some of the companies, which were awarded the contracts were properly registered with the registration office, were registered with SARS, did they go to a competitive process and so on. The administrative investigation has shown us that indeed that this was gone and the following companies competed and the other one won on scores…” says Mboweni.
@TreasuryRSA Minister @tito_mboweni at Parliament’s finance committees from the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces detailing procurement and #PPEcorruption pic.twitter.com/VzDXcJSTsM
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) August 5, 2020
Mbowneni’s deputy David Masondo and Treasury’s Director General Dondo Mogajane briefed Parliament virtually with the Minister about PPE procurement.
The Ministry says this has dented the people’s trust in them.
Masondo says, “As the minister has indicated it’s very clear that in this instance or in certain instances in so far as the way in which some of the government or local government it does look like the trust of our people has been broken…”
Members of Parliament have called for swift action and want all the culprits behind bars.
Mboweni asks law enforcement to probe awarding of PPE tenders:
SIU set to probe Gauteng PPE tender ‘irregularities’
The Special Investigating Unit (SUI) has been given four to six weeks to investigate the accounts of the Personal Protective Equipment tender irregularities in Gauteng.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi revealed this on behalf of Premier David Makhura, while responding to questions during a virtual meeting with the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Committee.
The Gauteng Health Department was hit by a PPE tender scandal in which Health MEC Bandile Masuku, his wife Loyiso, Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko and her husband Chief Thandisiwe Diko were implicated.
Lesufi says, “The Premier also made arrangements that the law enforcement agencies in particular the SIU must go through all the accounts. We have given them four to six weeks to go through those accounts. We are pleading for patients here. There is a clear amendment clause or relationship that the president also signed that allows the SIU and law enforcement agencies to go through all accounts. And they must go through all the accounts…”
Gauteng to finalise PPE tender investigations in six weeks:
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Treasury Spokesperson in Limpopo Risham Maharaj is also calling on the MEC Seaparo Sekwati to present spending on COVID-19 before the Treasury Standing Committee on a fortnightly basis.
Maharaj says they have received several complaints about tender irregularities concerning COVID-19 projects in the province.
She says the provincial government is unwilling to be transparent.
“All tenders that have been fulfilled for COVID-19 be presented on a bi-weekly basis at the portfolio committee for Treasury this follows allegations of continuous misconduct in terms of the tender irregularities with regard to awarding of tenders that the Democratic Alliance has been receiving over the last three months,” says Maharaj.
Emergency Procurement Presentation by the National Treasury: