NATIONAL NEWS - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo wants the provincial department of basic education to remove five companies from the provincial database for not delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) to schools reopening after the Covid-19 nationwide lockdown.
According to the Limpopo Covid-19 Command Council, about 42 schools in the province were still closed after the companies did not deliver the PPE.
Attempts to establish what was behind the companies’ failure to deliver on time and what the department was likely to do in response hit a brick wall as the MEC and the departmental spokesperson did not answer their phones or text messages.
“The DA in Limpopo is deeply concerned about the credibility and reliability of the suppliers on the provincial personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier database,” said DA Limpopo provincial treasury spokesperson and legislature member Risham Maharaj.
“We have learnt with shock from the MEC for basic education Polly Boshielo that the suppliers’ failure contributed to the province’s unpreparedness to reopen schools on 1 June.
“Boshielo mentioned that five of the six suppliers sourced from the databases of the department of treasury and Limpopo economic development, environment and tourism failed to deliver PPE on time. But the MEC could not immediately name and shame the said companies.
“These companies’ contracts must be abandoned. The departments should restart the process to find new suppliers and that should be done with the urgency it deserves.”
Maharaj said the PPE suppliers on the provincial database were registered in the central supplier database in line with National Treasury instruction note 05 of 2020-2021.
He said these suppliers had been scrutinised and had stated they could deliver the services they offered and were able to deliver big supplies within a maximum of five to seven days, unless the items were urgently needed.
“The provincial government should not be doing business with suppliers that are untrustworthy.
“We, therefore, demand that suppliers who failed to provide the PPE as undertaken must be removed from the database of the Limpopo suppliers of PPE during this Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
According to the chairperson of the Limpopo Covid-19 Command Council, Premier Stanley Mathabatha, the reopening of schools in Limpopo on 8 June was a resounding success.
He said the problems of the 42 schools which could not open were delayed water provision, sanitation and mobile toilets.
He said the largest number of schools that could not open were in Capricorn North and sanitation was the main reason.
Last week, cooperative governance MEC Basikopo Makamu visited Tours Primary School in Ga-Masoma, outside Tzaneen, which was closed amid late provision of PPE. The school had no toilets, no water and no proper classrooms.
The MEC undertook to convey his findings to Boshielo for an urgent intervention.
On Monday, the school was still closed.