#MakhuraPPE: SIU report confirms the DA’s suspicions about procurement of PPE equipment

It is now evident that the MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, is not fit to hold the position of MEC for Finance in the Gauteng Provincial Government given the recent revelations in the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) report on the procurement of, or contracting of, goods and services during at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On numerous occasions I have asked the MEC for Finance to make public the names of the contractors or suppliers who received tenders to procure goods and services for the Covid-19 pandemic, but instead of producing this list, she indicated to me that this cannot be done because of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), and year end audit processes which are preventing the disclosure of information.

It is clear that this was just an excuse to buy more time and to keep the 1906 tenders that were awarded without due process being followed, out of the public eye.

The report also indicates that in some instances the Treasury Instruction Notes 08 2019/2020 and 05 of 2020/2021 which set out the stringent guidelines for the procurement of goods and services during the Covid-19 pandemic were followed in the province.

This is extremely concerning, given that it is the taxpayers’ hard-earned money that has been squandered under the guise of government preparing itself to deal with a pandemic that seemingly has no end in sight. Small businesses especially those in the townships, were also not given an opportunity to earn an income.

The SIU report clearly indicates that only a few individuals benefitted from the opportunity to tender and that in many instances due process was not followed.

Contracts to the value of R6 037 901 185 are currently under investigation by the SIU, while 38 disciplinary hearings and executive action is also underway.

This trend of only empowering those businesses that may have political connections needs to end immediately.

Our residents are already suffering because of the decline in our economy and the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened this situation. The money that was lost to corruption over the last two years would have gone a long way to improving the lives of our residents had it been channelled to small business, entrepreneurs and used to improve our ailing infrastructure.

If Premier David Makhura is serious about rooting out corruption in our province, he will hold the MEC for Finance to account for the tenders that were not properly awarded under her watch. The MEC for Finance ultimately controls the public purse and needs to account for how every rand cent of our money is spent.

The DA once again calls on the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) to establish its own charter against corruption that every government department and accounting officer signs, so they can be held accountable for any missteps that take place in their department along with the officials responsible.