The DA in KwaZulu-Natal is looking for answers from the province’s Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu around health equipments.
They want to know on why Mshengu department bought personal protective equipment (PPEs) at hike up prices.
Dr Imran Keeka, DA KZN spokesperson on education, said in many cases the department had paid more for items that were available at cheaper prices in the open market.
They have demanded that Mshengu answer why the department had gone the more expensive route.
“More than R422 million has been spent by the department to procure the PPEs but some of the equipment, worth millions, disappeared in the Zululand, Pinetown and Umlazi districts, leaving officials scratching their heads to find solutions with schools due to reopen on Monday.”
“On the procurement of PPEs at inflated prices for more than 600 schools.”
Keeka said despite meeting all the requirements and standards that had been set out by National Treasury’s Instruction 5, the prices paid by the department were above the going rate of some items.
“Infrared thermometers, available at between R800 and R1 000 on the open market, were purchased at a cost of more than R2 500 each.
“Hand sanitiser, available at wholesale prices ranging from R45 to R65 per litre, was purchased by the department at R183 per litre,” said Keeka.
Mthethwa said the Basic Education head of department had invited service providers to bid to provide PPEs and then gave the list to the treasury, which evaluated whether those service providers complied with the SA Revenue Service and other relevant authorities before selecting the service providers the department would use.
“The guidelines apply to all the provinces, so it’s not like KZN went and did its own thing,” Mthethwa said.
He added that the department had suffered a loss running into millions with the theft of the PPEs that were meant for schools in the Zululand, Umlazi and Pinetown districts, further revealing that an investigation into this was still under way.