What a joke this was. The first few weeks of the pandemic were a wild adjustment for us all, but somehow, the Eastern Cape Department of Health (DoH) and its former MEC Sindiswa Gomba managed to come up with the most useless idea imaginable. We are, of course, talking about those ill-fated scooter ambulances.
Who remembers the Eastern Cape scooter ambulances?
The diabolical affair is back in the news this week, after the Presidency released the SIU’s report into COVID-19 corruption. Procurement scandals in Mzansi made international headlines in 2020, and it’s no surprise why.
Billions of rands were chowed by dodgy contracts and irregular tenders, as the ANC government raced to get a handle on the spread of the virus. Sadly, this led to some unscrupulous characters earning big bucks… and backhanders.
Despite the litany of corrupt activities, one deal seemed more peculiar than most. Gomba and her colleagues came up with a scooter ambulance service, which would transport people to hospital during the height of the first wave. The logic behind the decision was never properly established.
Ex-MEC Gomba facing criminal investigation for R10m flop
As confirmed by the SIU report, a criminal case regarding this procurement deal is under investigation by the Hawks, and the SIU is collaborating with the NPA and the Hawks – and rightly so:
The provincial government had to pay out an eight-figure fee for these so-called scooter ambulances.
The final cost of them all? A staggering R10 148 750.
That works out at a cost of R101 148.75 PER vehicle. Good Lord…
MEC Gomba went viral in the weeks that followed, after she blamed ‘apartheid’ for the bizarre project.
In the report, the SIU reveal that Gomba blatantly side-stepped the tender processes.
“On 23 June 2020, the SIU received an allegation that the Eastern Cape DoH irregularly procured 100 motorbikes to be utilised as mobile ambulances/clinics making use of the Covid-19 emergency procurement procedures. A tender with a contract value of R10.1m for 100 motorbikes (R101 000 per motorbike) was awarded to Fabkomp.”
“Gomba was not satisfied with how long it would take to finalise the procurement process. On 3 April 2020, she informed the Eastern Cape DoH officials that the process needs to be sped up. The MEC then instructed the Eastern Cape DoH officials that the procurement process must be finalised using the five day emergency regulation.”