Calls have been made for the KwaZulu-Natal health department and the province’s health MEC to answer questions over a R61m mobile hospital tender. At the same time, Mzansi Lifecare, the company that secured the lion’s share of the tender, said it had complied with all the tender requirements and apologised for threats made to the Sapa journalist investigating the tender. According to an IoL report, the calls and reaction followed an investigation by Sapa, which revealed that the department would spend about R61m on two vehicles, one of which was a mobile hospital vehicle leased from Mzansi Lifecare for R52.5m over three years.
The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa called for the MEC and department head Dr Sibongile Zungu to be sacked. Spokesperson Michelle Connolly said: “We demand an immediate explanation from the department as to how this bus project ended up costing them R61m over three years, and the state still ends up not actually owning a single bus. And since when does a newly registered company, with no verifiable experience, land such a big tender?”
The US company LifeLine Mobile, based in the state of Ohio, told the Sapa investigation after analysing pictures and detailed plans that it could ship four 12m-long vehicles with a comparable floor plans with X-ray and ultrasound machines for about $1.1m (R12.5m at current exchange rate) each.
“For the price they (the health department) were charged, LifeLine could have delivered four identical vans to Durban. And, it wouldn’t be on a lease agreement; they would own all four of the vans,” said Richard M Dinse, the vice president of LifeLine Mobile.
Dr Nandi Sakhile Msimang, CEO of Mzansi Lifecare, said the company had complied with all the requirements of the tender. She said: “Mzansi Lifecare registered an application to supply mobile medical units, and after complying with legal tender requirements was transparently awarded the tender contract in 2013 to supply one mobile truck with specific healthcare equipment in terms of a KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health tender.” She said that the company had delivered (the vehicle) “in accordance with all the tender requirements”.Full IoL report