The Gauteng department of health has wasted 141,000 half-litre bottles of sanitiser, which cost R12.7 million, after they expired and were rendered no longer useable.
This was revealed by Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to questions asked by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) MPL and spokesperson on health in the province, Jack Bloom.
According to Mokgethi, R100 million was paid for 544,000 units of sanitiser as part of the province’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, only 392,000 units (74%) were used while the remaining 141,000 units – which total 70,000 litres – cannot be used as they had expired and were currently stored at the Kushesh Warehouse quarantine area.
The MEC said the sanitiser had a limited product validity period of one year from 31 March 2020 to 31 March 2021.
Samples of the sanitiser were apparently submitted to the quality assurance department in December last year to check their quality, but no feedback had been received to date.
Bloom said he was concerned that poor quality sanitiser was bought by the department as it should normally be valid for at least three years.
He questioned why the quality assurance department had still not given a report on this after one year.
“Health workers often complain that they are not given sufficient sanitisers, which adds to the risks they face with rampant Covid-19 infections,” Bloom said in a statement on Thursday.
He also raised concerns that corruption might be involved in the procurement of the sanitiser, as has occurred with much of the personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement contracts in Gauteng.
“We need accountability in this matter and penalties for companies that have provided substandard supplies,” Bloom said.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe