Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba will appear before the Special Tribunal of South Africa on Friday over allegations of irregularities in the procurement of controversial scooters worth R10 million.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has alleged that the contract was “awarded in an unusual and unexplained haste”.
The province awarded the tender to procure the 100 scooters to a King William’s Town company. They were launched with much fanfare in June, but backlash on social media followed soon after that. Some South Africans questioned the appropriateness of the scooters to transport patients.
Concerns over suspected tender corruption also surfaced, with some calling for the provincial health department to be placed under administration.
In July, however, Gomba assured members of Parliament that there was no corruption involved in the purchasing of the scooters. She made the remarks while appearing before a virtual meeting of Parliament’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs committee on the province’s plan of action to deal with COVID-19.
On Friday, Gomba will appear before the Special Tribunal of South Africa with Superintendent General Thobile Mbengashe and the department’s Chief Financial Officer.
Eastern Cape defends decision to launch EMS scooters:
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize had attended the launch of the scooters.
He initially told the media that they were actually small motorbikes, originally intended to transport patients.
However, he later acknowledged they did not meet the basic requirements to function as ambulances. Mkhize then announced that the “scooters” were to be used for helping ferry medication to patients – among other things.
Eastern Cape’s Dr Thobile Mbengashe on R10 million scooter debacle: