Scooter ambulance tender unlawful; Premier's adviser faces disciplinary action

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The R10.1m scooter ambulance tender awarded by Eastern Cape Health to Fabkomp has been declared unlawful by the Special Tribunal and the provincial premier's special adviser on Covid-19 will face a disciplinary inquiry over his role in the matter.

Business Day reports that Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s former special adviser on the coronavirus, Thobile Mbengashe, will face a disciplinary inquiry over his role in the scooter ‘ambulance’ deal that has already cost former Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba her job. It says Mbengashe was the subject of a PIC investigation over the legality of his R1.9m annual contract extension.

The SIU has recommended he face a disciplinary process over his role in the tender for 100 ‘ambulance’ scooters. In light of a court decision on Friday, he is set to undergo a disciplinary inquiry and may even face suspension.

News24 reports that Special Investigations Unit (SIU) spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said if it were not for their investigation, Eastern Cape Health Department would have gone ahead and paid the money. Eastern Cape Health Department welcomed the judgment. Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: ‘We didn't oppose the application from the outset – so we accept the decision.’

In another News24 report, Fabkomp director Brian Harmse is quoted as threatening to sue SIU for defamation. On 18 February, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane fired MEC of Health Sindiswa Gomba after the SIU implicated her in wrongdoing for awarding the contract alongside former head of the Health Department, Dr Thobile Mbengashe. ‘

They are now going on this tangent that possibly Gomba benefited from this process; how ridiculous. They have been investigating for a year, they've got the Hawks, and there is nothing. I don’t know why (they) keeping saying these kinds of things, so yes, I am going to sue them, and I am going to sue them for defamation,’ said Harmse.

Harmse also lambasted the SIU for having never contacted him or his company during investigations despite his willingness to co-operate and repeated attempts to engage them. Kganyago said: ‘We interview people when there is a need for us to interview people. We don't interview people because they are there. We interview them because we want to get something out of them, and there was nothing we need from him, and we also knew he was going to be accommodated when the matter is heard in court, and he would have the opportunity to respond in court and therefore there was no need to talk to him.’


Full Business Day report (Open access)


Full News24 report (Open access)


Full News24 report (Open access)

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