Gauteng Health suspends official linked to PPE scandal

A Gauteng Health Department official linked to the personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement scandal has been suspended.

Speaking during an update on COVID-19 in the province on Friday, Premier David Makhura said this follows information received from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Thursday.

According to Makhura, the SIU flagged two officials, who allegedly enabled and facilitated procurement corruption.

One has since resigned, while the other official has been suspended with immediate effect on Friday.

The Premier said the provincial government, together with the SIU, is pursuing a legal and criminal case.

Several companies employed to supply PPEs are being investigated for possibly inflating prices or other unethical practices.

Makhura said they are moving swiftly in rooting out the rot and are dealing with corruption allegations that have besieged the province.

“The damning allegations of corruption regarding the procurement of PPE in Gauteng have profoundly eroded public confidence in the collective work of our provincial government in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

An internal investigation into the e-Government Department for irregular procurement is underway, with a contract already having been canceled.

Meanwhile, the Premier and 10 MECs will be subjecting themselves before the State Security Agency for a lifestyle audit, Makhura told the media.

“This is the resolution I took and announced at the beginning of this term,” he said, adding that the work will be completed in six to eight weeks.

“Part of fighting corruption is that no one must be living beyond their means.”

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola on Thursday announced that 36 corruption-related cases are “at various stages of investigation and prosecution”.

“Some unscrupulous individuals and companies have been looting State resources meant to provide food to families in need and PPE to frontline officials, particularly healthcare workers.

“Such criminal and immoral activities include inflating quoted prices, intercepting and redirecting food parcels meant for the poor, and acts of fraud involving funds designated for alleviating the hardships of employees and businesses affected by the shutting down of economic activities during the national lockdown,” said Lamola. – SAnews.gov.za

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