Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has come out in defence of a multimillion-rand aero-medical tender that is marred by allegations of irregularity and kickback payments, reports News24. The R16m three-year tender, which was awarded to the controversial Buthelezi Emergency Medical Services (EMS), has since been halted and Treasury is investigating it. The Special Investigating Unit in the Free State and North West is also investigating the company itself.
The report says the company was earmarked to provide an air ambulance service in Limpopo. However, the tender and awarding process was marred by allegations of impropriety and the head of the department, Dr Thokozani Mhlongo, and chief financial officer, Joseph Mudau, were accused of receiving kickbacks.
Ramathuba is quoted in the report as saying that she remained convinced that Buthelezi EMS was the qualifying company despite the halting of the tender and the Treasury investigation. This comes at a time when the health department in the province is under the spotlight for again exhausting its annual budget long before the end of the financial year. It was allocated R20.8bn for the current financial year. Ramathuba said the department would have to negotiate with companies to continue with supplies, such as medicine, and they would be paid in the next financial year.News24 report