ActionSA in Limpopo has raised concerns about a coal tender aimed at supplying coal to a number of hospitals that do not have boilers to enable power plants to generate electricity through the production of high-pressure steam.
In a leaked internal document that African Times has seen, senior executive leaders within the Limpopo Department of Health were addressing an issue involving a coal supply tender involving 12 hospitals.
The document, authored by the department’s chief director of infrastructure management Pandelani Ramawa was a response to an inquiry about the tender from the department’s chief financial officer Justice Mudau.
Ramawa confirmed to Mudau that only three of the 12 hospitals had boilers while the rest didn’t, further admitting that of the three facilities, only one had functional boilers.
“Upon receiving the request to advertise the bid for supply and delivery of Furetube coal, the office of the chief director appointed Mr James Ramulai as a project manager for the project. His main role was to assist with the development of a technical specification for the bid in the bid specification committee.
“The office of the chief director has requested the project manager to provide a report with reasons why institutions that are not using coal [boilers] were included in the bid specification,” wrote Ramawa.
The leaked document has since created a storm for the provincial health department and its MEC Phophi Ramathuba.
“The strange thing here is that some of these hospitals have no boilers and have never used coal before. This boggles the mind. Ramathuba is reported as having responded by stating that ‘…those are confidential documents and should not be in your possession as a foundation; how did you get them?’ MEC Ramathuba’s response is bewildering, to say the least. If an ANC leader sitting in the executive council of this province fails to grasp the essence of accountability in her deployment in the Department of Health, then God help us all,” said ActionSA’s Limpopo Leader Sello Lediga.
Lediga called for accountability, stating that dodgy tenders were the hallmark of the provincial department.
“ActionSA will not tolerate this kind of arrogance from a public servant who has been in power so long that she thinks she has a divine right to rule. We want to make it very clear that we are sick and tired of the shenanigans in the Limpopo Health Department, which always finds itself in the media for all the wrong reasons.
“Not so long ago, it was the PPE scandal followed by a spectacularly prompt acceptance of the resignation of the head of department (HOD) investigated for possible PPE corruption and now this dodgy tender. The people of Limpopo must surely assert themselves and stand up in their numbers against this continued looting of the state by the ruling party. Enough is enough,” Lediga said.
However, Limpopo Department of Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana confirmed the department’s tender specification had included the supply of coal to hospitals that did not have coal boilers.
However, he said the issue had been deliberately blown out of proportion because Ramathuba acted on information from whistleblowers within the construction tender.
“MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba instructed the Acting HOD to institute an internal investigation after the MEC was made aware of allegations that the department’s tender specification for supplying coal to hospitals also included some hospitals that do not have coal boilers.
“While the internal investigation was still in progress, internal official documents were leaked into the public domain. The department believes that the leaking of these documents seeks to undermine the ongoing investigation and to also delegitimise its potential findings,” said Shikwambana.
He said the department would get to the bottom of the matter despite the leaks that “sought to sabotage our efforts towards accountability.”
“The department is pressing on with the internal investigation in order to ensure that there is maximum accountability on this matter. At a preliminary level, the department has also sought the counsel of some law enforcement agencies to look into the matter.
“As the investigation is continuing, the department wishes to put it on record that the procurement processes for this tender had not been concluded when the issue was brought to light. Therefore, there has been zero activity insofar as the work pertaining to the tender is concerned. No work has been done, no order has been issued, and no payment has been made,” said Shikwambana. “The department is committed to thoroughly investigating the issue to its logical end, and it requests to be given space to get to the bottom of the matter.”