The Gauteng Health Department says it is committed to supporting local businesses and township suppliers and the localisation of procurement within Gauteng.
Spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said the department remained committed to providing financial muscle to small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
“We have allocated substantial investments to bolster the local economy, underlining our commitment to nurturing township enterprises and contributing to their growth and sustainability,” Modiba said.
He was responding to questions about how the department planned to support local business. This was after Jack Bloom, the DA shadow minister for health, revealed that the department had spent R1.7 million on food alone this year.
Bloom claimed that the department was overlooking local businesses in favour of companies from Limpopo.
Modiba said the reason why the department seemed to be prioritising Limpopo companies was that it was participating in a provincial transversal contract which lapsed in 2021.
“The provincial treasury handed back the responsibilities for the GPG (Gauteng provincial government) departments to establish their contract for food items. The department started to participate in the Limpopo contract in August 2023 while initiating a departmental contract for food items.
“In the absence of a departmental food contract, health institutions procured food through the Request for Quotations (RFQ) process, which resulted in (them) incurring increased irregular expenditure and shortage of supply.
“The bid specifications committee was in the process of finalising the specifications for the food contract at the time.”
Modiba added that all food items on the Limpopo contract were verified and were of the same specifications that the department required.
“The suppliers that are on the Limpopo contracts are inclusive of suppliers that have a Gauteng address on the central data base. It must be pointed out that no law prohibits a company from Gauteng from getting contracts from other provinces and vice versa.
“The department is in the process of establishing a contract for the provision of food-related items. The participation in the Limpopo contract is a provisional measure to ensure the uninterrupted supply of food-related items,” the spokesperson said.
On the question of why the company was charging the department an exorbitant amount, Modiba said the department was bound by the legislation governing the participation of contracts, which regulates that the participating department participates with the full terms and conditions of the contract.
“The participating department is not permitted to add or reduce the terms and conditions of the contract. The department is procuring the required goods based on the rates stipulated in the approved Limpopo contract,” he added.
Modiba said the amount spent on the food items was justifiable as the department aligned with the standard practices and adhered strictly to the applicable laws, including National Treasury regulation 16A6.6.
The spokesperson said the regulation permitted the head of department to engage in contracts arranged by other organs of the state through a competitive bidding process.
“The department participates in other contracts with the same terms and conditions including National Treasury transversal contracts. The department is utilising the prices as regulated by the signed and approved Limpopo contract.”