The report today in the Sunday Independent about yet another fishy company getting paid millions for PPE by the Gauteng Health Department highlights the complete lack of controls that allowed this to happen.
According to the report, Ledla Structural Development was paid at least R80 million for PPE even though it does not appear on the original list of 75 successful bidders for R2.2 billion worth of PPE contracts in Gauteng.
It is alleged that money was channeled through Ledla as a front company for Royal Bhaca Projects (RBP) which is owned by Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko. According to documents the money was channeled through Ledla in 12 tranches after the company invoiced for the same items as RBP.
It is reported that Ledla received the payments between 20 and 27 July, but it is not clear whether the R80 million payment was the balance or a portion of the R125 million awarded to RBP, which Diko claims he “walked away from”.
It also appears that Ledla grossly overcharged for PPE items, including R58 for a surgical mask that has a regulated price of R12.48 and R85 for 500ml of alcohol sanitizer instead of the R46.37 regulated price.
I am concerned that some of this money was paid as late as last week, and more might still be paid. This contradicts the assertion by Premier David Makhura that payments have been stopped to disputed PPE contracts.
We need to know why payments are still being paid to fishy companies and why the department does not deal directly with medical supply companies which would be simpler and cheaper.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has claimed for years now that the Gauteng Health Department was being “turned around” but the rot is still there.
The accountability for this PPE scandal is far wider than just Health MEC Bandile Masuku who has now been suspended for four weeks while investigations continue.
More heads need to roll and criminal prosecutions should follow for all who are implicated in this greedy grab for contracts that has resulted in inferior and inadequate protective equipment for health workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.