Health’s spending raises eyebrows with branded umbrellas

Health's spending raises eyebrows with branded umbrellas
HEALTHY UMBRELLAS: The Covid-19 provincial disclosure report has revealed that Sasekani Manzini's health department spent almost R1 million buying branded umbrellas during the lockdown. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK

Of the R610 million that provincial institutions spent for Covid-19, the health department spent R444 million – which is 72%.

The Mpumalanga health department spent R1 million buying branded backpacks, R2.4 million on gazebos and R800 000 on umbrellas.

That’s what investigators from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane’s government are currently looking at in various departments.

In particular they are looking at the possible inflating of prices.

Sasekani Manzini’s health department tops the whole Mpumalanga Covid-19 expenditure list with R444 million spent to date, followed by Bonakele Majuba’s education department at R96.3 million and Vusi Shongwe’s agriculture department R32.8 million.

The investigators are also busy with Lindiwe Ntshalintshali’s sports and culture as well as Mandla Msibi’s co-operative governance and Pat Ngomane’s finance departments as well as the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency and Parks & Tourism Agency.

The investigators will look at the criteria used when certain companies were awarded work as well as issues of inflated prices.

A thermometer, costing between R300 and R1000 a unit at retail, was bought by the finance department for R2 527.20.

ALSO SEE: Refilwe Tsipane reveals SIU investigates the department of health

The finance department spent R75 000 procuring 30 thermometers, when they were in fact supposed to spend between R15 000 to R30 000 for the same number of items.

The co-operative governance spent R277 000 for 110 thermometers, which could have been around R55 000 if the prices were not inflated. The department also spent R4.8 million buying sanitisers.

Ntshalintshali’s sports and culture department spent R640 000 on 250 thermometers. They would have spent between R125 000 to R250 000 if the prices were not inflated, jacking them up to R640 000.

ALSO SEE: Tsipane investigates 3 departments

A leaked paper showed that the investigators are probing Manzini’s health department which was responsible for 72% of the whole Mpumalanga Covid-19 expenditure as well as Thandi Shongwe’s social development which spent R9.7 million, Ntshalintshali’s sports and culture R4.7 million, Msibi’s co-operative governance R6.3 million and Ngomane’s finance department R555 000 and 3 other state entities which spent less than R1.5 million combined.

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane last week revealed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is on the health department’s case.

She said she had also appointed an independent team of investigators to look at the departments of sports and culture, co-operative governance and finance as well as Mega and Parks & Tourism Agency after “discrepancies” were found.

Tsipane said the independent team of investigators was established so that as a provincial government they don’t fold their arms and wait while the SIU is doing investigations.

She said where they see “discrepancies” they will launch an investigation and can’t just leave “matters unattended”.

Tsipane said if “prima facie evidence of wrongdoing” is found they will hand over the case to the SIU.

(edited by ZK)

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