UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has questioned claims by the Gauteng department of health that an estimated R40 million worth of “real stock” including PPE was lost in the fire at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital at the weekend.
During his visit to the facility on Tuesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said no one could have predicted the amount of damage caused by the fire at the hospital.
“At this time, until a proper and thorough assessment has been done, no one can tell the level of damage,” Mkhize said.
“From the stock that was here, more than R40 million worth of stock, largely PPEs and other essential items, were lost.”
Holomisa has since questioned these claims, going so far as saying he hoped this was not one of the ways to divert the ongoing investigations into PPE scandals that ensued last year in the province.
“Let’s hope it was not intended to frustrate the AG and SIU investigations. It might well be that there were no PPE of that amount, #Otsosti (The thugs)” tweeted Holomisa.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) received the most complaints about PPE-related corruption, with more than 30 allegations referred to it from Gauteng.
In its SIU PPE corruption report, unit head advocate Andy Mothibi noted that service providers for Covid-19 procurement had been paid without proof of delivering services.
He added they were also paid despite not being compliant with tax legislation and that suppliers who were friends or relatives of officials inflated prices.
Gauteng health MEC spokesperson Kwara Kekana said Mkhize’s remarks were truthful and he challenged those who were in doubt to take the necessary steps.
“An estimated R40 million worth of real stock was lost in the fire. Various authorities were on site dealing with the fire. Any person, including public representatives, can register their concerns or information with relevant authorities,” Kekana said.