SIU probe into the Limpopo Health Department’s alleged irregularities must ensure accountability: DA

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The DA says the Special Investigating Unit’s probe into the Limpopo Health Department’s alleged irregularities in the procurement of Person Protective Equipment must ensure accountability from officials and companies.

The party’s MPL, Risham Maharaj was reacting to the SIU’s efforts to recoup irregular expenditure amounting to R182-million in the department.

The SIU has obtained a preservation order to freeze the pension benefits of the former head of the department, Thokhozani Mhlongo.

Maharaj says they welcome the action of state organs to recoup government’s financial losses.

“The people of Limpopo have the right to know which unethical department, individuals, officials and companies wasted public funds and resources during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the DA welcome any action by the organs of the state to recoup financial losses by state institutions and hold officials and companies who may have been responsible accountable.”

Mhlongo resigned from the department in June this year following an internal disciplinary hearing emanating from SIU investigations relating to the procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment worth R182 million.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says investigations uncovered irregularities in the appointment of service providers.

“The SIU investigations uncovered irregularities in the appointment of service providers Clinipro Pty Ltd, Pro Secure Pty Ltd, and Ndia Business Trading (Pty) Ltd for the supply and delivery of PPE items, which resulted in the department incurring irregular expenditure and or fruitless and wasteful expenditure of approximately R182 million.”

Kganyago further says, Mhlongo allegedly allowed irregular expenditure to occur under her watch.

“The SIU investigation revealed that Dr Mhlongo, as the accounting officer, allegedly exposed the department to wasteful expenditure when she authorised the procurement and payment of 10 000 cellphones to the value of R10m for Covid-19 household screening.”

“The department could only manage to distribute 388 of the 10 000 cellphones between September 2020 and March 2021, and the cellphones were distributed without the required screening application,” he said.

Kganyago says that 9 588 cellphones were distributed to community health workers for Covid-19 work without the required application installed.