KZN Health PC must refer ‘astonishing’ bus tender discoveries to PP for immediate investigation

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health


KZN Health PC must refer ‘astonishing’ bus tender discoveries to PP for immediate investigation


The Democratic Alliance is unsurprised by the revelation that KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Health (DoH) allegedly wasted millions of rands in taxpayers’ money – awarding a dodgy R52.5million tender for the supply of buses to be used as mobile clinics in the province.

The finding was the subject of discussion during a provincial health portfolio committee meeting held on Friday last week.

The tender, awarded to Mzanzi Life Care in 2015, was for a single bus on a contract at R1.5m per month for 36 months that ended in 2016. This contract was temporarily extended in that year from April to July. This while there was no response to where this vehicle was and what it was being used for.

During the same meeting it was also revealed that;

• Four other buses were later acquired at a cost of R31m;
• These buses are currently not roadworthy and therefore not being used;
• They have accrued license fees amounting to around R700 000 over a four year period and; and
• That there is also a bus parked at RK Khan Hospital which cannot be used as there are no staff to man it.

Equally shocking is that some ANC members of the portfolio committee apparently found Friday’s revelations ‘astonishing’. This despite the fact that the issue has been extensively covered in the media for several years. Clearly they do not pay attention to what is happening during portfolio committee meetings.

This matter has been on the DA’s radar since we first heard about it in 2014 (click here for parliamentary question). That year and again in 2015 and 2016, we submitted written parliamentary questions on the issue. To date there has been no response from the MEC.

Following this, we submitted a Public Access to Information Application (click here to view PAIA) in a bid to get hold of the tender documents. To date we have had no response which is, in itself, illegal. (Click here to view correspondence with DoH)

We then made the decision to contact the Public Protector to request a full investigation with the PP’s Office confirming that this would take place. (Click here to view letter to PP)

The role of proper oversight at portfolio committee level cannot be over-emphasised when dealing with an MEC who fobs off critical issues and who likes to present himself as a champion against corruption and as the saviour of the sick and dying in our province. Certainly this was the case last week with the MEC and his acting HOD announcing these “new” revelations. The question is – why did the MEC not act or respond adequately to the DA’s queries in the first instance? And why is he only reacting now?

This issue has the potential to eclipse the so-called Gupta Mobile Clinic scandal in the North West province. The implication for MEC Dhlomo and his team, by reasonable deduction, is also that it is far worse if they deny the extent of the problem.

The DA is not taken in by the MEC as he feigns ignorance, particularly when we have raised this issue with him so many times. The fact is that he does not does not have an ounce of credibility left and he should not be leading this essential Department. The situation is absurd and full accountability for this debacle must be placed at his door.

We expect Health portfolio committee chairperson, Dr Yusuf Bhamjee to submit any new information to the Public Protector without any delay so that this probe can be expedited. We will also continue hold the MEC and his Department to account and to expose their shortcomings. We do so in the interests of KZN’s taxpayers and the many thousands of people who are reliant on state health care.

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