Discussions held with MECs, departments to curb COVID-19 corruption

Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize says ahead of personal protective equipment (PPE) being procured by the State, discussions were held with MECs and various departments to curb COVID-19 corruption.

Responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Mkhize said this was over and above several instructions being issued by the National Treasury, in collaboration with the Department of Health, to determine the maximum pricing of PPE.

COVID-19 procurement has come under scrutiny after the government published information of the tenders that were issued since the National State of Disaster was declared in March.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the irregularities and widespread looting of State resources and called for swift action against perpetrators.

“The President had raised the issue of curbing corruption with the Auditor-General and therefore, we have had engagements with the Minister [of Finance], the Director-General and the department to look at ensuring how we do risk analysis and put in place preventative and mitigation measures.

“In addition, this issue has been discussed with the various MECs and various departments and particularly, we had also discussed with the Minister at National Treasury that we need to keep refining mechanisms to ensure that there is control on pricing, as well as ensuring good quality, especially of PPE, where this issue has been arising of late,” Mkhize said.

Briefing Parliament recently, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni revealed that a brazen disregard for Treasury instructions in relation to the pricing of PPE and compliance was part of the reason widespread corruption occurred.

This led to the National Treasury discontinuing emergency procurement last month.

Addressing the House on Wednesday, Mkhize said the Department of Health – through the office of the Chief Financial Officer, in collaboration with National Treasury – through the office of the Chief Procurement Officer, engaged on the commodities pricing to curb the scourge of price-taking and elements of price racketeering.

“Subsequent to that, market prices were reviewed and the maximum pricing of the units for personal protective equipment was kept at the maximum of 15% of the initial price, as per the Central Supplier Database, prior to the announcement of the National State of Disaster.

“Subsequent to that, National Treasury issued instruction note number 08/ 2019/ 20, dated 19 March 2020, to address and provide guidance on the supply chain management process.

“Furthermore, instruction note number 05/ 2020/ 21, dated 28 April 2020, followed to address the emergency procurement commodities to curb the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the prices per unit.

“National Treasury instruction note 07/ 2020 / 21 dated 26 May 2020, was issued to inform the accounting officers and authorities to establish a system of financial management, internal control risk management, and internal audit under the direction of the audit committees,” said Mkhize. – SAnews.gov.za

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