Ramaphosa approves SIU probes into NHLS and City of Johannesburg contract

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 14: President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses members of Parliament during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 debate reply at the National Assembly on February 14, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. In his response to sell-out allegations made by Cope leader, Mosiuoa Lekota, Ramaphosa denied the accusations by saying he was asked by the apartheid government to disclose information about the struggle and against his fellow comrades but he refused and was jailed for six months. (Photo by Gallo Images / Jeffrey Abrahams)

President Cyril Ramaphosa's drive to investigate allegations of corruption involving state owned entities and companies doing business with government continues, with the signing of two new proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe maladministration at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), as well as a vehicle tender issued by the City of Johannesburg.

It is expected that the two proclamations will be gazzetted and published on March 29, so that the investigations can kick off.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed Ramaphosa’s authorisation of a probe into the NHLS.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba welcomed Ramaphosa’s decision to institute a probe into the procurement of what was known as “the red fleet” from contractor Fire Raiders, in a tender that he said was worth R86m at the time. He said the tender was issued in 2014 and was the former “ANC administration’s decision”.

Mashaba said his administration had cancelled the contract in 2017, “after it was discovered that the tender was awarded on the basis of forged Bid Evaluation Committee documents”.

In 2017, Mashaba said Fire Raiders failed to deliver 29 fire engines and was subsequently placed under business rescue, TimesLive reported at the time.

Maladministration, unlawful conduct and loss of public money

The Presidency says the SIU will investigate “allegations of maladministration, improper or unlawful conduct and intentional or negligent loss of public money”.

The NHLS is the largest diagnostic pathology service in South Africa, with the responsibility of supporting the national and provincial health departments in the delivery of healthcare.

“The allegations of wrongdoing pertain to the period between July 1, 2015, and the present. In a proclamation in terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act of 1996 (Act 74 of 1996), the president has directed that allegations be investigated and that civil proceedings emanating from such investigation be adjudicated upon,” said Diko.

“The SIU investigation will cover the provision of end-user computer hardware and related maintenance and support services for a period of three years in terms of Tender RFB 027/15-16,” continued Diko.

The specialised unit will also seek to uncover if there were irregularities in the replacement of water, sewer and drainage pipes.

“Any unlawful or improper conduct by the employees or officials of the NHLS or applicable service providers will be examined by the SIU,” Diko said.



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