The director of Fabkomp (Pty) Ltd, the company awarded the R10m Eastern Cape scooter ambulance contract, has threatened to sue the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for defamation after the Special Tribunal set aside the tender contract awarded.
Director Brian Harmse told News24 on Monday that they intended on seeking legal action against the SIU following its statement saying investigations into the matter found the procurement process to be, “… irregular, unlawful, full of dishonesty, possible collusion and was designed to favour Fabkomp”.
Harmse said: “The SIU wants to play this whole game in the media, and it’s not a media game to be played actually.
“The court does the final ruling and said they have reviewed the process for the tender, and it has been set aside, that’s all it is. This unlawfulness and whatever the SIU is saying wasn’t the finding of the court at all.”
“We are going after them because they are saying there was fraud and corruption,” he added.
In a judgment on Friday, the Special Tribunal set aside the R10.1 million scooter ambulance tender awarded to Fabkomp.
The SIU had previously been granted an interdict that stopped the Department of Health from making any payments to Fabkomp or accepting any deliveries of the scooters pending the finalisation of its review into the tender process.
On 18 February, Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane fired MEC of Health Sindiswa Gomba after the SIU implicated her in wrongdoing for awarding the contract alongside former head of the Health Department, Dr Thobile Mbengashe.
“They are now going on this tangent that possibly Gomba benefited from this process; how ridiculous. They have been investigating for a year, they’ve got the Hawks, and there is nothing.
“I don’t know why [they] keeping saying these kinds of things, so yes, I am going to sue them, and I am going to sue them for defamation. I got no choice,” said Harmse.
He felt almost like they were caught up in a political game.
“We were just at the wrong place with the wrong product. The worst thing is that right now, in the Eastern Cape, where this product was planned to be rolled out, people can’t get to the clinic. This product works, we [have] units all over Africa, and we sell them all the time,” he added.
Meanwhile, Harmse also lambasted the SIU for having never contacted him or his company during investigations despite his willingness to cooperate and repeated attempts to engage them.
In response to this, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: “The unfortunate part is that he now wants to tell us how to do our work. We interview people when there is a need for us to interview people. We don’t interview people because they are there.
“We interview them because we want to get something out of them, and there was nothing we need from him, and we also knew he was going to be accommodated when the matter is heard in court, and he would have the opportunity to respond in court and therefore there was no need to talk to him.”
On the threat of legal action, Kganyago said that it was up to Harmse to sue if he wished and that there was no need for the SIU to comment on that.