Publish all Covid-19 health contracts, DA implores Mkhize
Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance on Tuesday called on Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to urgently make public the names of all companies and their directors who have secured contracts with provincial health departments since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
The call comes as corruption allegations involving contracts for personal protective equipment embroil the Gauteng provincial health department.
"Today, I will request that the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, makes public all companies and their board of directors that have been awarded any contracts by the provincial departments of health across all nine provinces," DA MP Siviwe Gwarube said.
"This follows the dubious R2 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts that have been awarded to various companies, many of which are politically connected or without any demonstrable history of supplying the services that are being rendered by the Gauteng Department of Health."
Gwarube said Mkhize had the power to oblige all nine provinces to publish the relevant information surrounding contracts for health service supplies, including whether the companies in question had any history of working for the state or other entities in the health sector.
She said it was urgent that the contracts be made transparent.
"Once this information is made public, we will do our due diligence to ensure that politically connected individuals have not been the chief beneficiaries of these contracts and that, in fact, these services are being provided in the provinces."
Gwarube said the information she was requesting was also relevant to the probe the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was undertaking into all corruption-linked funds disbursed by the government to fight the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
"We cannot simply allow the systemic looting of public money in the middle of this pandemic to go unchallenged. We also cannot wait until crucial resources are squandered before action is taken.
"Retrospective investigations do little to provide the people of South Africa with the relief they require. Minister Mkhize is on the record having committed to fighting corruption that will rear its head in the health response to this crisis. We expect him to move with speed in making this information public as soon as possible."
The controversy over contracts entered into by the Gauteng department has seen calls for the the province's Health MEC Bandile Masuku to step down.
On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko announced that she was temporarily stepping down from her post over allegations relating to a large deal for personal protective equipment involving her husband, Amabhaca king Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko.
Ramaphosa last week said he had signed a proclamation mandating the SIU to probe all allegations of corruption surrounding Covid-19 relief funding.
African News Agency/ANA