Concern over Public Works’ spending of R82 million of Covid-19 funds

FF Plus

Concern over Public Works’ spending of R82 million of Covid-19 funds
Concern over Public Works’ spending of R82 million of Covid-19 funds

The FF Plus is extremely worried about the Department of Public Works’ spending and apparent squandering of money during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a question for written reply that the FF Plus addressed to Minister Patricia de Lille (Minister of Public Works), the party enquired whether the Department had awarded any tenders that relate to the Covid-19 pandemic and whether the standard procurement procedure was deviated from.

In her written reply, De Lille said that due to the state of disaster, procedures were indeed deviated from.

In terms of Section 27(2)(L) of the Disaster Management Act (no. 57 of 2002) and the regulations of the National Treasury, provision is made for such deviations in the emergency procurement of certain services, items and goods – as described in her answer.

Minister De Lille’s answer sets alarm bells ringing about the money that was spent. Here are a few examples:

1. The procurement of 1 000 automatic hand sanitisers for the Department’s regional office in Cape Town at an amount of R3 864 000,00 (R3 864,00 per unit).

2. The sanitising of six magistrate’s offices in the Durban area for a total amount of R10 235 495,00 (R1,8 million in die Midlands District Municipality, R1,8 million in uMgungundlovu, R1,8 million in eThekwini, R1 050 448,00 in Ugu, R1 878 831,00 in eThekwini and R1,7 million in die Zululand District Municipality).

3. The sanitising of a building in Pretoria for an amount of R914 147,00 as well as another building, also in Pretoria, for an amount of R553 631,00.

4. Hand sanitising liquid for the Department’s Head Office for the amount of R9 085 000,00.

5. The procurement of 65 automatic hand sanitisers for the Kimberley regional office at an amount of R657 162,00 (R10 110,18 per unit).

6. Sanitising services for a year amounting to R994 529,00 at the Mmabatho regional office.

7. Supplying pharmaceutical masks to the Pretoria regional office for an amount of R2 132 000,00 (the number of masks that were ordered is not clear).

8. Erecting infrastructure for the Salvokop quarantine facility in Pretoria at an amount of R1 333 348,00.

9. Upgrading the Beit Bridge border fence at R40 million (which has since been seriously vandalised).

10. IT, video and security services at the Department’s Head Office for an amount of R12 501 698,00.

The total amount of the Department’s so-called emergency expenditure during the Covid-19 period, without following the usual procurement procedures, adds up to a staggering R82 706 925,00.

It appears that during this time, the clause allowing for deviation from the normal procurement procedures was grossly exploited and it is not even clear whether the contracted companies are indeed able to deliver the said services.

To the FF Plus’s mind, this no doubt paves the way for extensive corruption. Among other things, the party would really like to see what the automatic hand sanitisers, that cost R3 864,00 per unit, look like.

This information also raises serious questions about the forced quarantine facilities to which large sums of money were allocated, but that are in a terrible condition and do not comply with the health and safety standards.

At this stage, it appears as if the Minister has absolutely no control over her Department’s spending and the FF Plus will see to it that she is held accountable for all the expenses.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Philip van Staden on FF Plus

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SOURCEFF Plus