The Democratic Alliance (DA) will once again place sustained pressure on the Premier of Mpumalanga, Hon Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, requesting a progress report on Covid-19 corruption.
The Premier stated on the 20th of August 2020 that she will appoint the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to conduct an investigation into possible corruption of Covid-19 funds for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the province, but five months later the report is still non-existent.
The DA submitted a letter to the Office of the Premier on the 25th of August 2020, detailing information contained in the Provincial Procurement Report which showed exactly how the funds meant to contain the spread of COVID-19 became a breeding ground for corruption in our province. The DA further asked the Premier to table the final SIU report in the Provincial Legislature. It is now five months later and there is still no investigation report or any news of the findings made by the SIU.
The Provincial Procurement Disclosure Report for the First Quarter of 2020/2021 was released by the Provincial Treasury last year. According to the report, the purchase of surgical masks, sanitizers, food parcels and thermometers varied significantly across all government departments. By using an example of digital thermometers we can find that while some of the Departments paid R1200 to R1800, the majority of government departments paid R2 527 and more – per thermometer!
The Department of Health in our Province chose to purchase the following items and until today it is questionable how these items help to contain the spread of COVID-19:
- Seven thousand branded umbrellas for R805 450
- Seven thousand branded backpacks for R1 082 725
- Cell-phone tablets at Vodacom for R1 714 512
Furthermore, the Premier called on this investigation because there was an inequitable distribution of resources to a minute few and also because these tender prices were highly inflated between and among government departments. She also said that this investigation team will complete its work within two weeks.
Honorable Premier, it is five months later since you instructed this investigation and yet we have to question, where is this investigation report?
Given the above, the DA has once again written to the Office of the Premier requesting the progress report relating to the investigation process and the outcomes.