Contracts probed

2019-07-24 06:02
Buthelezi EMS was contracted by the Free State Department of Health for the transportation of patients. Photo: Teboho Setena

Buthelezi EMS was contracted by the Free State Department of Health for the transportation of patients. Photo: Teboho Setena

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The DA has welcomed the promulgation in the Government Gazette for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to launch an investigation into three controversial contracts the Free State Department of Health had entered into. The announcement was made on 12 July.

The DA took the matter to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on 3 July 2018 for investigation, said Mariette Pittaway, DA member of the provincial legislature.

The cash-strapped department had contracts for procurement with Mediosa, Halo Aviation and Buthelezi EMS for the transportation of patients, limiting ambulances of the department to operate locally.

Buthelezi EMS has stopped opera­ting in the province from late 2018.

“The DA is of the opinion that these contracts were awarded due to political considerations, that they are inflated and that there is no real value for money. We pointed out several irregularities such as that the company registration details of each contractor either laid dormant, or were established just prior to the awarding of these contracts.

“The DA is of the opinion that the Halo Aviation contract, in joint venture with Buthelezi EMS for emergency air transportation of patients, were extremely inflated,” said Pittaway.

“The DA finds it irregular that under a contract for medical air transportation services, the same company will refurbish or construct new infrastructure to support this service, a function which lies with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.”

She said the party stood up to ensure people of the province get deserving service, adding that they hope the SIU’s investigation will reveal the depth of corruption into the department.

“We trust that justice will prevail. The DA will continue to hold the MEC and Department of Health to account in the interest of the people of the Free State,” said Pittaway.

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