Auditor-General Tsakane Maluleke has slammed a host of irregularities in the Gauteng provincial government’s spending on Covid-19 activities.
This highlights how misspent money could have been used to save lives as Gauteng public hospitals now struggle to treat a flood of Covid-19 patients.
Special Reports from the A-G’s office were recently tabled in the Gauteng Legislature and included the following findings:
- 23 unlisted suppliers were used to procure PPE amounting to R862.5 million.2. 300 000 K95 medical masks were ordered, but KN95 non-medical masks were delivered instead.3. R127 million worth of PPEs were ordered but not received by the Gauteng Health Department.
4. There were 22 instances where PPE contracts were awarded to suppliers with no previous history of supplying PPE, the total value being R442 million.
5. There were 6 instances where prices were paid in excess of Treasury regulations, with a potential loss of R182 million because of overpricing.
With regard to the NASREC field hospital which cost more than R260 million, the A-G said that payments of R22.5 million were made to the supplier outside the agreed terms in the signed contract. The Department paid for the purchase of items that were leased by the supplier, and did not invite as many suppliers as possible, with no prior approval from Treasury.
With regard to the refurbishment of the Anglo Ashanti mine hospital, the A-G says:
“There were 6 instances where emergency procurement awards amounting to R495 million were not reported to the provincial treasury within the required 30 days.”
According to the A-G, the root cause of all this malfeasance is the tone and culture at the top, which led to “a breakdown in the organisational level controls to enable an ethical and effective control culture, including leadership effectiveness and conduct.”
This is a devastating indictment of Premier David Makhura who has presided over all these irregularities without taking any accountability for his failure to prevent them.
The problem has not been a shortage of money but it has been spent poorly instead of properly preparing health facilities for the expected third wave of Covid-19 cases.
Going forward, we can do so much better as shown by the Western Cape Health Department which gets a clean audit every year and has better served patients affected by the Covid-19 epidemic.