Companies linked to Mr Hangwani Morgan Maumela, a nephew by marriage to President Cyril Ramaphosa, have scored contracts worth R381 million in the last three years from Gauteng public hospitals.
This astounding figure is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
I asked her about contracts awarded to 12 companies that got R36 million from Tembisa Hospital last year. Murdered whistleblower Babita Deokaran had identified them as “possibly fraudulent” and other suspicious payments totalling R850 million.
According to a News24 investigation, these companies are linked to the Maumela family – Hangwani is a director of nine of these companies, while a relative heads the other three firms.
All the contracts were under R500 000 and were therefore signed off by the Tembisa Hospital CEO instead of going out to tender.
It is now revealed that the Gauteng Health Department has paid a total of R381.4 million to these 12 companies from April 2019 to date.
Of this amount, R356 million came from Tembisa Hospital, R22 million from Mamelodi Hospital, and R2.4 million from a number of other hospitals.
Much of this amount was for medical products. Still, Nkomo-Ralehoko admits that “none of the listed companies has SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) approval for the sale of medical products”, and she blames “inadequate processes and oversight.”
At various times, some of these companies were not tax-compliant or were deregistered for a period. They do not look like serious companies that provide real products at decent prices.
From available information, it appears that seven of Maumela’s nine companies operate from a single unit in a Sandton residential estate.
It is very suspicious that none of the hundreds of contracts awarded is over the amount of R500 000 which would require a tender process instead of the CEO signing off on them.
Nkomo-Ralehoko says that “after a number of assessments it was noted that the process followed could not detect split billing and some compliance issues.”
When I asked what was being done about the irregularities, she says lamely: “the department has now improved the internal controls at the Supply Chain Management (SCM) process in ensuring that there are reviews to identify split-billing and non-compliance through checklists.”
Maumela has been identified as a central figure in the Tembisa Hospital purchases that Babita flagged, scoring R36 million in contracts last year in one month alone.
He also has ties to Bejani Chauke, who is Ramaphosa’s principal political advisor. They are neighbours in a plush Hyde Park complex in walking distance of Ramaphosa’s private residence.
The SIU is already investigating the splurge of Tembisa Hospital payments last year, but needs to extend its probe to all payments made to Maumela’s fishy companies. Ramaphosa should authorise this by proclamation if he is serious about cleaning up all corruption in the Gauteng Health Department.
We need to know whether the products supplied were actually delivered and were good value.
I suspect that millions of rands were wasted that should have provided decent services to hospital patients.
It is utterly deplorable that the new Health MEC is not blacklisting companies that were seemingly non-compliant with legal requirements.
She admits there were serious irregularities, but doesn’t commit to any sanction against these companies or the errant officials. I will be pressing her to do so.
I will be writing to SAHPRA to investigate whether Maumela’s companies were legally authorised to sell medical products.
Strict action is needed to root out the rot in this department, not weak promises to do better in future