Yesterday during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, the FF Plus pointed out to the relevant Minister, Patricia de Lille, that she must be held accountable for the expenses incurred by deviating from the normal procurement procedures during the lockdown period.
This includes the Beit Bridge border fence, private quarantine facilities and other exorbitant purchases. The total amount spent by this Department during the period amounts to a shocking R82 million; including the Beit Bridge project.
The FF Plus wanted the Minister to explain how this money will be recovered. It has come to light that the clause that makes provision for deviating from the normal procurement procedures in terms of Section 27(2)(L) of the Disaster Management Act, was seriously exploited during the pandemic – it is not even clear whether the companies that were awarded contracts are indeed able to deliver the said services. It only paved the way for extensive corruption.
It is also clear that Minister de Lille had no control over her Department's expenses and she must be called to account for this.
The excessively high costs that the government was charged for public funerals, an amount of R76 million, is an absolute disaster because according to a report issued by the Better Life Index, a funeral costs on average about R26 000 in South Africa.
The FF Plus welcomed the fact that the Department has referred a number of cases regarding quarantine facilities to the Special Investigating Unit seeing as the Department spent an amount of R41 million on facilities that were in poor condition and filthy. Many of these facilities made the headlines since lockdown commenced, for example, the Zithabiseni Resort in Mpumalanga and the Coastlands Hotel in Durban on which an amount of R300 000 was spent.
The FF Plus pointed out to the Minister that answers must be provided, action must be taken and people must be duly prosecuted and that the Minister will be held accountable for her Department's reckless conduct.
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