THE Democratic Alliance has called for a full investigation into the tender process used in awarding a company, alleged to have strong ANC ties, a R4.3 million contract to supply KwaZulu-Natal's health department with the controversial Tara clamp (see here).
The clamp, currently in use by the department as the preferred method of circumcision as part of a roll-out programme in the province, has also come under the spotlight after it was found to be less safe than traditional circumcision procedures. DA KZN Health spokesperson, John Steenhuisen, confirmed that his party would call for answers on both the tender aspect and also the health and safety implications.
"The DA will call for explanations in the form of parliamentary questions to KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo. We need to know why the tender process was circumvented. That there are other companies manufacturing the device that were exempted from the tender process, raises serious questions."
Steenhuisen said that he was disturbed that, despite clinical trials pointing to problems with the device, the department continued to advocate its use, refuting all claims. "The Orange Farm trials show that the device is less safe than traditional circumcision methods. It is extremely worrying that, despite this, the health department persists in using the device. The DA calls on the MEC to commission an urgent independent clinical trial, so that the department can contest these claims on a medical and factual basis. To merely invite those opposed to the clamp to attend the roll-out programme is not good enough - it is clinical trials that count."
Statement issued by John Steenhuisen, MPP, DA KZN Spokesperson for Health, November 3 2010
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