Cape Town – The Office of the Public Protector has recommended disciplinary action against Eastern Cape officials involved in the scooter ambulance procurement within 90 days.
The public protector found that the procurement of scooter ambulances was illegal due to the Eastern Cape Health Department’s contraventions in procuring scooters for R10 million, which were intended to transport patients in rural communities that ambulances could not reach due to poor road infrastructure.
Questions had been raised over the cost of the project, the type of care that would be delivered to patients and whether the scooters would be able to traverse poor roads.
"We found that the procurement process followed by the Eastern Cape Department of Health when it awarded the contract to supply motorbikes with a side-car ambulance and clinic was improper and in contravention of applicable legal prescripts," acting public protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka said.
"The Eastern Cape Department of Health did not observe relevant provisions of the Constitution, the PFMA, Treasury regulation 16A68.3C, Treasury regulation 16A6.4, relevant paragraphs of the National Treasury Instruction 3 of 2016-2017, Treasury SCM instruction 2 of 2016-2017 and relevant paragraphs of the Eastern Cape Department of Health Supply Chain management policy in the process of this procurement.
"To remedy this maladministration and improper conduct, the acting head of the Eastern Cape Department of Health must take appropriate steps in respect with disciplinary action in terms of section 38H of the PFMA and the applicable policies of the department against officials involved in and responsible for the non-compliance the provisions of the SCM policies and Treasury regulations pertaining to the procurement of the scooter-ambulances/clinics with 90 days."
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape’s under-fire Health Department is facing the highest contingent liabilities in the country at R36.75 billion. The province also has the highest unauthorised spending in the country at R1.59 billion.
This is according to Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke on Wednesday, who released the 2019/20 General Report for national and provincial governments and their entities.