Limpopo laundry scandal: Premier’s media attack is contemptuous

By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Health:

The DA notes the press statement issued yesterday by the Office of the Premier concerning Limpopo hospitals’ laundry tenders where millions of Rands are being paid to companies which do not have the means to launder hospital bedding. We welcome the government’s undertaking to take action against officials responsible for this tender bungle. It is reprehensible that companies who do not have the basic washing equipment would be awarded lucrative tenders to do provincial laundry.

The DA will therefore refer this tender to the Provincial Legislature Committee on Public Accounts to investigate any monies paid to suppliers who are not delivering.

The provincial government cannot shirk responsibility when it has appointed unqualified suppliers at exorbitant prices.

The tirade by the Premier against the journalist who broke the story shows pure contempt for the media and for freedom of the press. The media exists to report facts of any wrongdoing, which is in the benefit of the public. Had this laundry scandal not been exposed by the media, the misuse of the taxpayers’ money could not have been stopped.

Yesterday’s attempt by the office of the premier to clarify the matter, brought more confusion to the matter than clarity.  On the one hand a decision was taken in 2014/15 to “insource laundry services in the medium to long term” – meaning that the department or hospitals themselves would do the laundry. Yet to achieve this, the department deemed it fit to accredit “service providers for rendering laundry services for a period of three years”.  This appears to be a contradiction in terms; they outsource in order to insource.

The Office of the Premier deliberately singles out one single service provider; Mphefhedzi Business Entreprise as the only provider to have been given this tender.  Yet according to the information at the DA’s disposal there were other bidders who were allegedly awarded these contracts.

The DA will push for both the previous health MEC Mr. Kgetjepe and the current one, Dr Ramathuba to appear before the provincial committee on public accounts, to give a detailed account about these laundry contracts, and the specs of the suppliers upon which the tender was awarded.