KZN PPE Forensic Probe: Premier’s report a weak-kneed attempt to whitewash gross malfeasance
22 July 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejects yesterday’s report by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier SihleZikalala – following a forensic probe into the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the province’s Department of Education (DoE) – as a weak-kneed attempt to whitewash gross malfeasance.
The DA’s stance is also on the basis that the findings and explanations do not add up and are in direct contradiction with what the Departmental HOD, Dr Enoch Nzama, told the Education portfolio committee (EPC) in May.
Clearly those responsible for compiling this report must think the people of our province are unintelligent.
It is also scandalous that the Premier then decided to peddle such nonsense to the public, which only adds insult to injury.
That the Premier would have us believe that a mask that can be bought on a street corner for R10 is suddenly worth R25 after delivery and warehouse charges is simply ridiculous.
That he would also have us accept that hand sanitizer available at a wholesale price of R60 is now worth a staggering R186 per litre - also due to delivery and warehousing costs – is even worse.
There can be no running away from the fact there was an admission by DoE officials that they paid massively inflated prices. These prices were the maximum prescribed in the National Treasury’s Instruction 5 - the same document that the Premier mentions in his report.
HOD Nzama is also on record of having confirmed the prices and the source document used to guide the pricing.
How is it possible that there is now a sudden about-turn in an attempt to escape accountability?
The DA is in the process of obtaining a recording of the meeting in which Dr Nzama can be heard defending the inflated prices. This after members of the KZN Education Portfolio Committee (EPC) took umbrage to a presentation in this regard. (View here to see prices paid and prices presented to the EPC on 22 May.)
For the Premier to simply tell us that there was no wrong doing in the procurement of PPE for schools is not enough, particularly when a prima facie look at the matter does not exonerate any one of the Department’s officials. There can be no acquittal without probing this matter further.
The DA will continue its engagement with the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) in this regard in the hope that the lid will be blown off the top of what we regard as a massive profiteering scheme - as has recently been done with the Department’s procurement of sanitary towels, exposing skulduggery.
The DA remains committed to clean governance where we govern and to exposing any form of corruption where we are in opposition. The ANC-led government’s slippery slope when it comes to corruption cannot be ignored by the people of KZN who must use the ballot box wisely and put an end to the crookedness that has become an epidemic.
Issued by Imran Keeka,DA KZN Spokesperson on Education, 22 July 2020