Health MEC, HOD must account for Scootergate

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the news that Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and Head of Department, Superintendent General Thobile Mbengashe, will be called before the Special Tribunal tomorrow to answer for the Scootergate scandal.

This R10 million contract has been plagued with irregularities, with those responsible ducking and diving and changing their tune from the moment the first video of the MEC parading up and down the East London esplanade on one of the scooters hit social media.

It is a damning indictment on the MEC and her Department that the Special Investigations Unit has found the matter warrants being brought before the Tribunal, on the grounds that it was in contravention of the Constitution, the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury regulations.

At the launch the MEC clearly stated that the scooter ambulances would be used to ferry patients from rural parts of the province.

Subsequently the vehicles have been deemed unfit for medical transport by the National Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, with the department then stating that the vehicles purchased were actually meant for mobile clinics and public awareness initiatives.

Serious questions have been asked about how the tender originated and whether the purchase is the value for money, but more worrying is that the Department of Health entered into the contract in the first place, as all medical fleet procurement in the province is managed through the Department of Transport.

This is just one of a litany of faux pas made by the MEC during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been deemed one of the worst health crises the province has faced.

The DA has repeatedly called on the Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, to remove both the MEC and the HOD. We trust that the Special Tribunal will get to the bottom of this mess and that those responsible are held to account!

The continued failures by the provincial health department are inexcusable. The leadership are playing with the very lives of the people they swore an oath to serve.