IFP wants update on KZN R61m mobile clinic tender probe

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Gallo Images

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Gallo Images

This after the former public protector announced a probe into the tender awarded by the KZN Health department to two companies.

The Inkatha Freedom Party on Wednesday, urged the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to say when she is expecting to complete her investigations into a R61 million tender that led to a controversial R52.5 million three-year lease for a mobile clinic.

The IFP’s health spokesperson, Ncamisile Nkwanyana, said that the party was concerned over the delays into the investigation into the tender.

“I have written a formal letter to Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, requesting that she furnishes me with a copy of the progress report on the investigation conducted into the controversial R61 million tender as she is required to do by the Constitution and by law,” she said.

“We had asked the previous Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to investigate this matter so that we can confirm that where there was abuse of state resources in the awarding of this tender so that those who are involved in this particular matter can be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

In May 2016 , Kgalalelo Masibi, the spokesperson for the then Public Protector Madonsela, announced that there would be an investigation into the 2012 tender that saw the KwaZulu-Natal health department awarding the R61 million tender to two companies — Mzansi Lifecare and Mobile Satellite Technologies.

The announcement followed complaints lodged, not only by the IFP, but also by the Democratic Alliance’s health spokesman Imran Keeka.

Mzansi Lifecare was awarded a tender to lease a truck and trailer, equipped with a standard X-ray machine and ultrasound, to the department for R52.5 million over a period of three years.

At the end of the lease period at the end of August 2016, the department would not own the truck.

The company, Mzansi Lifecare, was created a mere 17 days before the tender, ZNB 9281 / 2012-H, was advertised in the Government Gazette in June 2012.

Former KwaZulu-Natal health department head Dr Sibongile Zungu signed off on the lease in August 2013, agreeing that the department would pay Mzansi Lifecare R1.5 million every month until August last year to lease the vehicle without staff.

When the tender made headlines in January 2015, it emerged that the department could have purchased outright four similar units from the United States.

It is the second time that the IFP has written to the Public Protector’s office asking for an update on the investigation.

“It is now absolutely essential that we obtain an update from the Public Protector as to what progress has been made in this investigation, and given an indication as to when a preliminary report will be completed. Public funds were wasted in this tender. We have asked many questions about this matter from the KZN MEC of Health, Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo in the legislature but were not given suitable responses,” said Nkwanyana.

Comment could not immediately be obtained from the Public Protector’s office.

– African News Agency

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