Health says R1m tender did not go to a dead man

The Eastern Cape health department has denied claims that it paid a dead man close to R1m after his company and name appeared on the list of companies awarded work in the province.
Image: 123RF/ oneinchpunch

The Eastern Cape health department has denied claims that it paid a dead man close to R1m after his company and name appeared on the list of companies awarded work in the province.

Odwa Matshaya’s friend and relative spoke to Daily Dispatch last week, saying they were shocked to see his name on the list as he had died two years ago. The relative said Matshaya’s 2KS Construction company was on the list of those which had benefited.

But on Sunday, the department said the director of 2KS Construction was Nceba Kwakweni, not Matshaya.

“The Eastern Cape department of health wishes to state categorically that the newspaper article contains falsehoods that border on absurdity. The director of 2KS Construction is not the person listed in the article. The director is alive and he is Mr Nceba Kwakweni,” said department spokesperson Siyanda Manana.

Called for comment on Sunday, Kwakweni opted not to speak to the Dispatch. “Let’s leave this. I am not going to comment,” he said.

Asked why Matshaya’s name appeared on the list of companies that benefited, Manana said they will furnish a response on Monday.

Last week the Dispatch spoke to a health department employee who alleged ghost companies were receiving work and that other companies had their information used but payments were paid to others.

“Employees are encouraged to report any wrongdoing to the SG or to law enforcement agencies so that action can be taken,” said Manana.

Over the weekend the Dispatch fielded a number of calls from company directors complaining that their  companies also appeared on the list but they not been given work. Another director sent a text message, complaining that his company had received nothing but he appeared as a company the provincial department had paid.

Another businessman, Mdu Madikane, complained his company received no work but on the provincial list it appeared as a company that benefited from Covid-19 provincial tenders.

Manana said the department’s plan was to award many bidders. “In relation to health officials who are raising concerns, the department wishes to state the following: the department’s strategy was to award multiple bidders, to manage the risk of supply and develop a number of suppliers.”

He said the department had to negotiate prices down to the rates published by the national treasury. “The strategy is fair, inclusive, transparent and is available for any review.”

He said if companies were asked to quote on certain items but did not receive any work, it was because the supply chain process was subject to compliance checks and to competition with other bidders. “A quotation does not guarantee an award,” he said.

He said in relation to Madikane’s company, Buhlebezwe, it was awarded an order for R1.13m to supply 10,000 isolation gowns as part of a deviation prior to the conclusion of the bid process. “Buhlebezwe has not delivered and therefore has not been paid.

“No other company where he is a director was awarded any other bid. The same company, Buhlebezwe, arrived after the closing time for various PPE bids that were managed at Amathole district and the department refused to let them in. They were aggrieved and appealed that decision.”

Manana said Madikane’s Buhlebezwe had responded to a tender for gowns and coveralls which had resulted in ten companies being negotiated with and awarded purchase orders. “Eight of the companies delivered and two still need to deliver the items they did the bidding for, which includes Buhlebezwe.”

“We have had companies which requested extensions for deliveries and some which needed cessions signed. However, they all ended up delivering save for Buhlebezwe.

“In terms of the masks, the department issued a letter of award to Associate Logistics JV,  of which Buhlebezwe is part. The KN95 mask product has been awarded to nine  companies and four companies have been issued purchase orders and have delivered. The company will receive the purchase order from the department as the process is ongoing,” said Manana.

Madikane on Sunday said he was communicating with department officials about the bids he submitted. “They have failed to answer some questions on the other bid I had a query on. I can confirm that they did contact my company as one tender was rejected. I am not aware that I had to deliver on the others, these are news,” he said.

By Bongani Fuzile

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