The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is alarmed at the increasing allegations of fraudulent activities in the tender processes relating to the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protection & Equipment.
We call for a firm and immediate clampdown on such allegations, by the prosecuting authorities. At the start of the lockdown, we did caution about this matter. In particular, we made it clear that PPE tender specifications had to be carefully crafted and controlled, in order to prevent leakages. For example, we warned that allowing “middle-men” operations to act as PPE suppliers to the state would cause excessive and deliberate inflation of pricing points. In order to prevent this, we called for direct procurement from actual manufacturers.
In the instance of fabric facemask supply to the Department of Education, for example, we estimate that the “middle-men” phenomena can cost wastage of state resources of millions of rands through pricing increases, which could be eliminated through direct procurement from actual manufacturers.
In addition, we register our deep concern about emerging evidence of sub-standard quality supply of PPE’s, such as recently revealed poor quality sanitisers supplied to some schools.
Of more concern, is the emerging evidence that most PPE’s that are locally available or that can be manufactured domestically, are predominantly being imported from outside. This flies in the face of our nation’s agreement that one of the best ways to attack domestic poverty and unemployment is to build local industrial manufacturing capacity.
We welcome the decision of parliament’s finance committees to probe these very serious allegations of corruption in PPE procurement initiatives, and call for a tightening of PPE procurement specifications, and more transparency from companies that are being awarded such PPE tenders.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794