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Three companies score R100m contracts, latest Tembisa exposé shows

Three little-known companies owned by ANC Ekurhuleni treasurer-general Sello Sekhokho have scored nearly R100m in Gauteng Health Department contracts in three years, supplying everything from boerewors to bandages.

Kaizen Projects, Nokokhokho and Bollanoto Security were among hundreds of Tembisa Hospital suppliers Babita Deokaran flagged three weeks before her assassination – and a News24 investigation first identified a string of deals worth R2.3m pushed his way.

In the days before her death, Deokaran raised concern over the flurry of transactions to Sekhokho's companies. When she tried to halt the payments, now suspended Health Department CFO Lerato Madyo told her to release the money and to keep the transactions secret.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, responding to questions in the provincial legislature posed by the DA's Jack Bloom, has now revealed that 225 contracts from state hospitals, worth nearly R84m, were awarded to the companies since 2019. This according to ledgers attached to her answers.

In the same period, Sekhokho banked R15m supplying Tembisa Hospital. His combined windfall is now in sharp focus.

Sekhokho said the claims were "rubbish" and "nonsense".

Bloom added that Bollanoto Security sold a wide variety of goods and even food supplies to state hospitals. According to a schedule of payments provided by Nkomo-Ralehoko, they were not paid for providing security services.

According to Bloom, Bollanoto supplied:

  • 108 "rain suits" of various sizes for men and women at a total cost of R1.88m. This equates to R17 000 for each rain suit.
  • R196 000 for 17 V-neck jerseys – R11 500 per jersey.
  • The company, in the space of a week, sold nearly two tons of boerewors for nearly R1m. This is equal to R490 per kg for the meat, far above fair market prices.
  • R280 000 for 27 pairs of men's parabellum brown leather shoes.

"Gross overcharging abounds in the purchase orders of all three companies…overpriced goods were still being bought from the companies in July this year," he said.

"It looks like a giant scam to fleece hospitals which desperately need money for decent care to patients who suffer terribly when machines are broken, staff are short, and buildings are falling apart," Bloom added.

Sekhokho the money man

In July, News24 revealed that Sekhokho and his companies were among the first to appear on Deokaran's radar as she struggled to understand an R850m spending surge at Tembisa Hospital. In total, she identified 1 232 purchase orders out of Tembisa Hospital – in four months – which were valued at less than R500 000.

Goods or services above that threshold require a public tender process. Those below that mark, the hospital's CEO can sign off.

In internal e-mails obtained by News24, Deokaran told colleagues it was dubious that an "events company" was a supplier of medical equipment, and that Madyo had overruled her, and instructed that they be paid.

On 17 August 2021 – six days before her assassination – the whistle-blower directly raised concerns with Madyo in a WhatsApp exchange:

14:25 Madyo: "Noted. Did u put them (payments to Sekhokho's firms) in the (payment) run?"

14:26 Deokaran: "We did. Will check the documents and if not in order will recall the money."

14:54 Madyo: "Eish I just don't like dealing with politicians u know?? Pls keep this private. Will speak to u soonest."

Madyo, alongside Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi, were placed on precautionary suspension in August.

Pricing analysis

A price analysis of Sekhokho's Tembisa Hospital deals revealed gross overcharging that he refused to explain. In one instance, he supplied medical equipment at nearly 500% more than quotes – for the same product in the same quantity – sourced by News24.

Previously, Sekhokho strenuously denied impropriety, insisting that his business dealings with hospitals in three provinces were above board.

He refused to reveal how much he made on state contracts, citing "client confidentiality".

On his pricing, he said: "Most of the products we supply are imported into the country, while others are sourced locally… Our pricing is mostly influenced by the fact that we do not buy the majority of our products directly from the manufacturers, but rather from the secondary sources who put markup prior selling to us."

Yesterday, Sekhokho said there was no way he had profited to the extent set out by the Health Department in their answers to Bloom.

"This is just pure lies…there is no way that I could make so much money and I am going to tackle this head on," he said.

"Since my name has been mentioned I have needed to get a bodyguard because people are threatening me…they are even trying extort me because they think I have all the money," he added, insisting that he was considering shuttering his companies.

Meanwhile, R30m was coughed up by retiree Mboneni Maumela, former Limpopo director of public health and mother of Tembisa Hospital tender tycoon Hangwani Morgan Maumela, for two Sea Point flats in the Cape, boosting the value of the family’s property portfolio to more than R310m.

She bought the two units in the luxury Twin Towers block, each flat costing R14.5m, in March, reports News24.

She appears to be backed by her son who, with his cousin Aluwani Maumela, scooped R381m in contracts from Gauteng state hospitals in three years, with 93% of their earnings coming from Tembisa Hospital.

Hangwani Maumela and other tenderpreneurs have now been linked through a web of little-known entities and opaque trusts. Four people, through 10 companies in business with the embattled East Rand hospital, scored R23m in contracts.

The politically connected Maumela, nephew by marriage to President Cyril Ramaphosa and an associate of his principal political adviser, Bejani Chauke, is at the heart of the Tembisa Hospital scandal.

Location, location, location 

On 5 March, Mboneni Maumela bought two units in the same block – one year after retiring from the Limpopo Health Department. Deeds office records also show that she purchased a vacant stand in Bendor Park, Polokwane, for R457 275 midway through 2016, which now houses a large three-storey building.

Beyond these properties with deeds in her name, she is a trustee of the MHR Maumela Family Trust, with her son Hangwani and her daughter Rumani Maumela, through which palatial homes were purchased in Zimbali on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, Hyde Park and Sandhurst in Johannesburg, as well as Bantry Bay and Camps Bay in Cape Town, in the space of only five years.

The purchase of these plush properties and the Polokwane construction project coincides with the period in which the companies controlled by Maumela and his relative saw a flood of business, mainly from Tembisa Hospital. He has previously declined to answer questions about his business dealings.

A family affair  

Hangwani’s sister, Rumani Maumela, is also a trustee of the Odaori Family Trust, formed last year. Another listed trustee is Lucinda Barriel, the sole director of three entities red-flagged by Deokaran.

Carrington Trading Enterprise, Fourteen O Nine Trading Enterprise and Twenty Six O Four Trading Enterprise were to be paid R11.83m for Tembisa Hospital tenders.

According to Companies and Intellectual Property Commission information, the businesses operate from a house in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg. News24 visited the property this week, where a woman who identified herself only as “Lucinda’s brother’s girlfriend” said Barriel no longer lived there. She said she had no knowledge of her business dealings.

Repeated attempts to contact Barriel by phone were unsuccessful. Questions sent via WhatsApp were blocked.

Financial security 

Another businessman with links to Maumela is security company boss Vusimuzi Matlala. He too had three companies in trade with Tembisa Hospital – also earmarked by Deokaran for closer scrutiny – which landed R4.4m in contracts in a single month.

Matlala and Maumela had a shared interest in Pretoria-based security company Cat Protection and Security, which apparently “caters to high-end clients in search of bodyguards and close protectors”.

In September 2017, Maumela was appointed as a director of this company. Four days later, he resigned and was replaced by Matlala.

News24 identified 12 individual contracts awarded to Matlala’s companies from the Mamelodi and Tembisa Hospitals in the space of two weeks in July 2021. Eleven of these deals were seemingly illegal, as none of the entities held a licence for the sale of medical devices – a criminal offence, according to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

Matlala also has a criminal record for housebreaking dating back to 2001, raising questions over how he was appointed as a company director, as a conviction is preclusive. Questions were sent to Matlala and he did not respond.

The web grows 

Another businesswoman linked to Maumela is former Gauteng Department of e-Government employee Tebogo Segobodi who, like the others, was the sole director of three companies.

One firm, Barnjo Trading and Suppliers, was due R5.9m in Tembisa payments which were halted by Deokaran. Two other companies she controls, Tebogo Medical Suppliers and Atang Medical Suppliers, share the same business address as seven of Maumela’s companies: a residential unit in a Fourways estate.

Attempts to contact Segobodi were unsuccessful.

Detailed questions were put to attorney Nabeela Moola, who acts for the Maumela family. Chiefly, News24 asked about Mboneni Maumela’s source of income, if Gauteng Health Department cash were used to pay for her property, and the relationship between Hangwani Maumela and others in the network.

In response, she said: “We do not wish to compromise the integrity of any investigations that may be under way in relation to our client, nor do we intend to litigate by way of media.”

Ramaphosa, through his spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, has previously distanced himself from Maumela, saying the pair have never met and have no relationship.

News24 – silenced-from-boerewors-to-bandages-inside-anc-leaders-r100-million-health-tender-jackpot

News24 article – SILENCED | Mother of Tembisa tender ‘don’ scores R30m Sea Point property as tenderpreneur network expands (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Tembisa tender ‘big cheese’ linked to Ramaphosa’s family

 

Tender tycoon scoops R36m from Tembisa in dubious dealings

 

Sanco alleges multimillion rand tender fraud at Tembisa Hospital

 

‘Corruption mafia’ claimed to be manipulating hospital tenders

 

 

 

 

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