by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
The Gauteng Health Department has paid R7.4 million to Buthelezi EMS, a controversial ambulance company that is being investigated concerning alleged overcharging and tender irregularities in the Free State and North West provinces.
According to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, although there was no contract awarded to Buthelezi EMS, “the Departmental Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) granted permission to utilize the services of this company pending the finalization of the tender process.”
She says that the use of this company was done by “request for quotations, as there was no contract or tender in place.”
In the last four years Buthelezi EMS has been commissioned 64 times for ambulance services, which cost a total of R7.4 million.
National Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has asked the Treasury Department to investigate the procurement of ambulance services from Buthelezi EMS, which has been awarded large contracts in the Free State and North West.
In the Free State, Buthelezi EMS got more than R15 million from two backdated price increases from the Free State Health Department.
This company, operating under various related names, has held a contract with the North West Department since March 2016, and was being paid between R600,000 and R1-million a day to mostly deliver inter-facility hospital transfers in the province.
I am concerned that Gauteng is using this company without going out to tender and could also be getting poor value for money.
I will write to the National Treasury to include Gauteng in its investigation about the appointment and pricing activities of Buthelezi EMS.