SCOPA to launch formal enquiry into health department contracts

Glenda Steyn MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Public Accounts

The Gauteng Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) on Friday agreed to launch a formal inquiry in terms of the Gauteng Committee Inquiries Act into 12 contracts commissioned by the Department of Health.

The DA requested the inquiry after department officials failed to produce records or documentation for seven of 12 multimillion rand contracts awarded from 2003 to 2008, as requested by the Auditor General.

Records for the remaining five contracts are also virtually non-existent, where the department spent over R680 million, but it could not prove that it acted properly at all stages of the process – in that it cannot or will not produce the evidence requested by SCOPA.

The contracts are:

  • Supply and commission of Smart Health Card Solution – R608 million;
  • Implementation of the Baud asset management system – R4,4 million;
  • Implementation of local area networks for 134 health facilities – R41,5 million;
  • Supply of nursing staff on ad hoc basis to hospitals – R30 million; and
  • Commissioning and mentoring of NGOs – R2,5 million.

It is clear from the department’s responses that it has failed to exercise proper supply chain management processes and carry out effective monitoring and oversight of contractors.

Once established, the inquiry would have the power to subpoena officials, former heads of department and MECs to account for their actions – and those who refuse to comply with a summons or who give false evidence, may be guilty of an offence and face imprisonment or a fine.

The DA will use this opportunity to ensure that whoever oversaw the spending of hundreds of millions of public funds on poorly managed and executed delivery programmes, will be held to account.