SEKHUKHUNE – Businesses in Sekhukhune allege their companies are sidelined in providing much needed services in the Limpopo Department of Health.
The Local businesses claim tender recommendations are given to companies from Vhembe and Capricorn Districts to provide services in Sekhukhune clinics and hospitals.
They allege that Limpopo MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, influences tender procurement processes to appoint companies owned by “her cronies and relatives”.
These allegations emerge at the background of the health department’s irregular awarding of PPE contracts.
The Latest reports indicated that the Limpopo Health Department awarded a PPE tender worth R185 Million to the company based at Kwazulu-Natal. A company allegedly owned by Ramathuba’s crony.
The Health Portfolio in the province demanded that a detailed report, on more than R500 Million worth of expenditure, following suspicions of corruption in the procurement of Covid-19 essentials, be made public.
The National Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) earlier called for Premier Chupu Mathabatha to suspend MEC Ramathuba, pending investigations into alleged irregular contracts’ awarding..
However, Mathabatha rejected the call and said the matter of PPE tender irregularities is under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
Ishmael Tjebane, a business owner in Sekhukhune district, said most of the beneficiaries in the region are coming from Vhembe, which is ‘home of MEC Ramathuba’.
“About 90% of service providers in the health sector are not from this region. They are mainly coming from Vhembe and some of the companies are coming from Capricorn, clearly connected to the MEC, this is a conflict of interest,” he said.
Tjebane said almost all tenders including those of supplying cleaning materials, food supply, security and PPE are awarded to outsiders. “Even those main service providers bring their own people from outside this region. We have a right to benefit. Why should all the money from Sekhukhune benefit people who are not residents of this district. We are not allowed to do business in their region as they prefer to empower local businesses and we understand that,” he said.
Tjabane concluded that their companies are compliant and meeting requirements to render any service to the health institutions.
“We are shocked to learn that even delivery tenders are given to outsiders. Upon our evaluation, we have discovered that some of the companies are not complying at all,” he said.
Limpopo Department of Health Spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said they are waiting for the outcomes of investigations before they can comment.
“All allegations of irregularities particularly those that relates to PPE procurement have been forwarded to the SIU. We will not be able to comment on that until such time that the investigation process is completed,” he said.