South Africa: Public Protector Flags Irregular KZN Health Contracts

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The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has again been taken to task on poor contract management and allegations of tender irregularities -- this time by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Sibongile Zungu, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize's special adviser on NHI, and previous head of the province's health department, came in for particular criticism.

The public protector released a report last week with damning findings against the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health over alleged tender irregularities in the procurement of four mobile health units. The units cost taxpayers about R61-million to lease between 2012 and 2017. The department paid for four units, but secured only two.

The public protector's report follows complaints over alleged irregularities by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and an anonymous whistleblower in 2015.

In her report, the public protector found most of the claims made by the complainants were substantiated.

Some of the allegations include that one company, Mzansi Life Care, appointed to provide one mobile health unit, was registered only on 29 May 2012 - 17 days before the tender for the mobile units was advertised on 15 June 2012.

Now the public protector has found the R61-million paid for the tender for...

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