Court order granted to stop R10m Eastern Cape scooter project

Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the unveiling of six scooters. Picture, Eastern Cape Department of Health, Facebook.

The SUI says it has successfully stopped the payment before it was paid to the contractor.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the court order stopping any payments being made in the controversial R10 million Eastern Cape department of health scooter project, as well as its implementation.

The SIU said the court order was granted on Friday by Justice Modiba at the special tribunal.

“The Eastern Cape department of health agreed to an order interdicting and restraining it from making any payments in the amount of R10,148,750 regarding tender No. SCMU3-20/21-0022-HO,” the SIU said in a statement.

It added that the department also agreed to an order stopping it “and Fambkomp (PTY) LTD from taking any further steps towards” implementing the project, which has come to be known as Scootergate.

The SIU is investigating the contract between the department and Fambkomp for the procurement of 100 mobile clinic scooters from the latter company.

The procurement of the mobile clinics was prompted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The SIU will ensure that everything is done to protect the resources of the state from any misuse. In this case, we have successfully stopped the payment before it was paid to the contractor.”

The SIU has contended that the awarding of the R10 million contract was done in contravention of the provisions of Section 217 of the Constitution, [the] Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury regulations.

It is alleged that the contract was marred by irregularities and irrationality and that it was awarded in unusual and unexplained haste.

The unit also contended that when the department heard of its investigations, it, the department, resolved that the scooter be modified and continue with the tender with Fabkomp as the contractor and that such a modification results in a “fresh” contract.

The SIU alleges that the modifications show that the awarding of the contract was not meant to meet the specified needs of the department.

On 12 June, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Gomba unveiled six scooters fitted on the side with a first aid kit and oxygen on board.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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