The FF Plus is extremely concerned about the Department of Public Works’ spending and apparent wastage of money during the Covid-19 period.
In a written question from the FF Plus to Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille, whether the department concerned awarded any tenders related to the Covid-19 pandemic and whether the standard procurement procedures have deviated, De Lille replied that procedures had been deviated from due to the disaster situation.
In terms of section 27 (2) (L) of the Disaster Management Act (No 57 of 2002) and the regulations of the National Treasury, provision is made for the departure in the emergency procurement of certain services, items and goods, as contained in her answer. .
However, FF Plus spokesperson Philip van Staden said Minister De Lille’s answer shone red lights on the money spent. He cited the following few examples:
- The acquisition of 1 000 automatic hand cleaners for the Cape Town regional office of the department for an amount of R3 864 000 (R3 864 per unit).
- The sterilization of six magistrates’ offices in the Durban area for a total amount of R10 235 495 (R1.8 million in the Midlands District Municipality, R1.8 million in uMgungundlovu, R1.8 million in eThekwini, R1 050 448 in Ugu, R1 878 831 in eThekwini and R1.7 million in the Zululand District Municipality).
- The sterilization of a building in Pretoria for the amount of R914 147 and another building, also in Pretoria, for R553 631.
- Hand cleaning fluid for the department’s head office for the amount of R9 085 000.
- The acquisition of 65 automatic hand cleaners for the Kimberley Regional Office for an amount of R657 162 (R10 110,18 per unit)
- The provision of one year sanitary services for the amount of R994 529 to the Mmabatho regional office.
- The provision of pharmaceutical masks for the Pretoria regional office for the amount of R2 132 000 (it is not clear how many masks ordered are involved).
- The erection of infrastructure for the Salvokop quarantine facility in Pretoria at an amount of R1 333 348.
- The Beit Bridge border fence at R40 million (which has since been vandalized).
- IT, video and security services at the department’s headquarters at an amount of R12 501 698.
“The total amount used by the department in the Covid-19 period for emergency spending without using the usual procurement procedures amounts to R82 706 925,” Van Staden said.
“It seems as if the deviation from the normal procurement procedure has been abused at this time and it is not clear whether the companies involved are able to provide the services.”
He added that there is no doubt at the FF Plus that this is paving the way for large-scale corruption.
“The party would like to see, among other things, what the automatic hand sanitizers cost R3 864 each. This information should also make hard questions sound about forced quarantine facilities for which large amounts of money have been appropriated while in poor condition and not meeting health standards. It seems that at this stage the minister has no control over her department’s spending and the FF Plus will ensure that she is accountable for all expenses. “