Cape Town – Premier Alan Winde has dismissed opposition claims of a cover-up with regards to a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into PPE procurement by provincial government departments, including that of the Premier.
“There has been no cover-up. This is an active and ongoing investigation and the SIU must be able to complete their work. We have co-operated fully with the SIU and have provided all of the information they have requested,” said Winde.
“However, as a province, we welcome all efforts to ensure transparency and to root out corruption. Should wrongdoing be uncovered in any of these investigations, we will take immediate action.
“The SIU is on the record as saying that an investigation does not necessarily mean that there has been wrongdoing.”
Asked exactly what the SIU was investigating in his department, Winde said: “The investigation is into a purchase in May of 160 digital thermometers for use across various Western Cape government buildings. The thermometers were purchased at a unit price below the applicable National Treasury guidelines at the time (May 20). The total expenditure amount was R216000.
“The SIU investigation into the Department of Health relates to the procurement of a neurological microscope. At the Department of Education it concerns the purchase of PPE, cleaning materials and sanitisers from a single supplier, and at the Department of Environmental Affairs it is about the purchase of three thermometers with a total value of R8910.”
Good secretary-general Brett Herron insisted that there was an attempt to conceal evidence of wrongdoing.
“The point is the SIU is investigating suspicious transactions. Initially we heard, weren’t told, that it was the Health and Education departments that had contracts being investigated. Now we hear again, not disclosed by the premier, that the SIU is investigating contracts that include the premier’s own department,” said Herron.
“There’s great public interest and concern about PPE procurement. There was an obligation to include the fact that some province tenders were being investigated by the SIU. Failure to disclose this amounts to a cover-up.”
EFF Western Cape provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said the provincial departments and municipalities were hiding information regarding the procurement of PPEs.
“They cannot even account in a number of instances as to why they have paid inflated prices for certain PPE units,“ said Xego.
Provincial ANC leader Cameron Dugmore said: “It’s important the SIU is supported in all matters that it has identified for investigation. There are also standing committees where issues of concern can be raised.”