Picture: AFRICA CDC
Picture: AFRICA CDC

The Western Cape provincial government has published a report detailing all personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement and expenditure in the province, amid a spike in corruption allegations relating to Covid-19 contracts in other provinces.

Western Cape MEC for finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier, said on Thursday the first procurement disclosure report details all PPE procurement and expenditure by the Western Cape government departments from April 1 to June 30. Each transaction included details such as the name of the supplier, a description of the item, the unit price per item and the total spent. (Read the procurement report here.)

An automated report will be made available on a monthly basis, he said.

“We consider the procurement disclosure report an excellent example of transparency and another innovative step towards maintaining clean government in the Western Cape,” Maynier said.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is probing various suspicious Covid-19 contracts in provinces such as Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal after widespread allegations of nepotism and corruption.

The graft allegations have prompted the National Treasury to look into the possible centralisation of its procurement.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni told MPs on Wednesday he has discussed the further tightening of procurement procedures with Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane, who is looking into centralising protective equipment procurement, depending on capacity issues between the Treasury and the national department of health.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, has taken a special leave of absence pending the outcome of investigations into allegations that a company in which her husband is a director received two contracts worth R125m to procure protective equipment for the Gauteng government. According to Diko, the contracts were later cancelled. Gauteng health minister Bandile Masuku has also taken a leave of absence after being implicated in the scandal.

Maynier said the Western Cape has invested large amounts of money on PPE in the fight against Covid-19.

“So I am pleased about this initiative by provincial treasury as an important measure designed to mitigate the risks in supply chain management and ensure this money is spent correctly.”

Provincial treasury head of department David Savage said the public procurement disclosure report enhances transparency by providing procurement information that is easy to access and meaningful to all interested parties and oversight bodies.

“Because we use different supply chain management systems with varying lead and lag times, we hope that this consolidated report will eliminate duplication and discrepancies in reporting.” 

Other proactive support and compliance measures implemented by the provincial treasury to mitigate procurement risks include the establishment of a central procurement advisory committee to support and advise the main procuring departments and enhanced surveillance of disaster-related procurement by internal audits of procurement transactions.

The provincial government has to date spent just over R436m on protective gear procurement contracts, with the education (R112m) and health (R250m) departments the biggest spenders.

Some of the main suppliers include Masiqhame trading, which has in recent years provided cleaning services to the department of education; Medical Plant Africa, a local supplier of medical products; and Pepkor trading.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za

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