An estimated R1.7 million has been paid by 11 Gauteng public hospitals for what the DA described as overpriced food.
The party’s healthy spokesperson, Jack Bloem, said the provincial government was procuring the services from a business training company in Limpopo.
“This is revealed by Gauteng Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my follow-up questions in the Gauteng Legislature as to why a fishy Limpopo contract is being used that includes companies not registered to sell food,” he said.
Bloem said it was strange that the department piggybacked on a company that was on the food list for a Limpopo Health Department contract.
“Other fishy companies on the list that have sold a wide variety of groceries to Gauteng hospitals include NM Motors and Workshop, Madics Security and Projects, and Musa Security Care.”
Bloem said the department had acknowledged that it was procuring things like fresh vegetables, chicken breast and wings, milk, cheese and yoghurt, using the Limpopo contract.
Last year, the department said it had spent R23.6m to buy food for Gauteng hospitals through the Limpopo contract and that it was preparing contracts to buy food locally.
“It is ridiculous to buy over-priced food from a dodgy contract in another province when there are many local food suppliers with competitive prices. It also cuts out township businesses that could supply local hospitals,” Bloem said.
The DA called for an immediate halt to food purchases using the Limpopo contract, and an urgent investigation into who had authorised it and who benefited from it.
Among the 11 identified facilities, Leratong Hospital came up tops with the most procured food from Mmanko Business Training and IT Solutions, including a 1 litre milk at R32 which supermarkets sell milk for R17. An amount of R1 263 was paid for 10kg frozen chicken breasts, compared to the average price of R650 elsewhere.
Frozen hake was another over-priced item, with 5kg costing R1 173 instead of R850 elsewhere. The only reasonable value was 60 large eggs for R193.
Bloem said another poor-value item that was bought was R12 139 that Sizwe Tropical Hospital paid Mmanko for 540 Mageu 500ml cartons, which worked out to R22.50 a carton as opposed to R10 at most supermarkets.