Public Protector asked to investigate R52.5 million lease

2015-06-23 19:27
An example of a mobile clinic in the United States which the KwaZulu-Natal health department could have bought for a quarter of the price. (Sapa)

An example of a mobile clinic in the United States which the KwaZulu-Natal health department could have bought for a quarter of the price. (Sapa)

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Durban - The Inkatha Freedom Party on Tuesday lodged a request with the Public Protector to investigate a tender that saw the KwaZulu-Natal health department lease a truck and trailer for R52.5m over a three year period.

Kgalalelo Msibi, a spokesperson for the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, confirmed a request from the IFP to investigate the R61m tender for mobile hospital clinics had been received.

It was reported in January that the department had awarded a R61m tender to two companies.

Of that amount, R52.5m is being spent on leasing a truck and trailer that has a standard X-ray machine, which at the end of the three-year lease, the department will not even own.

Two companies - Mzansi Lifecare and Mobile Satellite Technologies - won the tenders. Mzansi Lifecare was awarded the R52.5 million lease despite only having been formed a mere 17 days before the department made it known it was seeking four mobile hospitals.

In the letter addressed to Madonsela from IFP health spokesperson, Ncamisile Nkwanyana, a copy of which is in News24’s possession, Nkwanyana writes: “We are convinced that there was some form of irregularity/corruption in the awarding of this tender.

“How is it that a company that did not exist 17 days prior to the request for information suddenly wins a R52 million lease?” Nkwanyana asks in the letter.

She also questions why the lease did not attract the attention of the Auditor General and why it was never considered if the amount of R52.5 million for the lease was reasonable.

Cost R12.5m

In January LifeLine Mobile, a company based in the US state of Ohio, claimed that it could manufacture and ship a 12-metre long vehicle with a comparable floor plan to Durban for R12.5 million.

Richard M Dinse, the vice president of the company, said the price would also include a tent, training and warranty costs. The vehicle would also be owned outright by the department.

Mzansi Lifecare has maintained that there was nothing untoward in the tender and that it did nothing wrong.

Nkwanyana questions in her letter what information was supplied to the specifications committee, the bid evaluation committee as well as the bid adjudication committee that ultimately awarded the tender.

She also demanded to know who the people on these committees were and which other companies also bid for the tender and asked Madonsela to determine who actually instigated the process that started the whole tender.

On Sunday, the Democratic Alliance’s spokesperson, Dr Imran Keeka, said Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo had not responded to a request for information submitted in terms of a Public Access to Information Application request.

Read more on:    public protector  |  thuli madonsela  |  durban  |  local government  |  health

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