KZN wants oncology maintenance contract set aside and R9m repayment

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KwaZulu-Natal Health wants set aside an ‘illegal’ contract with a company to repair and maintain its oncology machines, as well as repayment of R9m.

The Witness reports that argument on this was heard on Friday of last week in the Pietermaritzburg High Court before Judge Piet Bezuidenhout, who has reserved judgment.

The report says in addition, the department seeks repayment of R5,695,641 and R3,398,760 which were paid to KZN Oncology Inc pursuant to the agreement.

The report says for the department, advocate John Pammenter, SC, said the company was unable to properly repair and service the machines. In addition, neither it nor its sub-contractor were authorised to repair the machines. If the company is allowed to continue with the repair and servicing of these machines, it will inevitably affect the welfare of cancer patients in KZN.

He added that the then head of department, Dr Sifiso Mtshali, had failed to comply with the Constitution and various statutory and regulatory provisions, prior to concluding the agreement with the company in December 2015.

All these breaches or non-compliances were dealt with in a forensic report of the KZN Provincial Treasury into various alleged irregularities of the Health Department. The company does not contend that the findings were wrong, he said.

The report says in its replying affidavit, the company said it was not responsible for the deplorable state of affairs brought about by the fact that the oncology machines were not operating, said Pammenter. He said that it is clear in these circumstances that the conclusion of the agreement was thus invalid and should be reviewed and set aside. “It was illegal,” he said.

According to the report, advocate Emmanuel Sithole, for the company, said that the application by the department confirms the existence of a binding agreement. The company therefore wants the court to confirm it.

The Witness report (subscription needed)

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