DA hands KZN mobile clinic tender issue to Public Protector

By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:

THE DA has handed over the issue of an allegedly flawed tender for the procurement of KZN Health mobile clinics to the Public Protector’s office for investigation.

The move follows months of ongoing attempts by the DA to obtain clarity around the acquisition process used by the department which include;

–          Written parliamentary questions to KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, on 9 December 2014.  No response has been received to date

–          Questions put to the MEC during portfolio committee oversight meetings, which were fobbed off

–          Questions posed directly to the MEC during the province’s Health Budget debate to which he did not respond

–          A Public Access to Information application submitted to KZN’s DoH on 21 May 2015, calling for the release of all documentation relating to the tender process.  The application has never acknowledged, apart from an email from an official who asked what a PAIA is.

Given that none of our steps have yielded any information – along with the deliberate evasion by the MEC and his department on the matter – the DA is left with no option but to hand the matter over to the PP.  We have also requested that the MEC himself be the first respondent.

The fact that the MEC is so hell-bent on keeping this information away from the DA merely substantiates our belief that the tender process was highly irregular.

We regard the Premier’s silence as equally damning given his earlier assurances that he would look into the matter.

A surprise inspection of two of the mobile units by the DA during June revealed that they are in an appalling state despite a hefty bill of R61million for just two of them.  This is taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Government – in this case the ANC-led KZN government – has a duty to act honestly, transparently and in the best interests of the people.

It is a travesty that the DA should have to resort to the office of the PP to obtain information that should already be in the public domain.