By Kaya 959 News
The police have slammed a report claiming that they spent R1.6 billion on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
National SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo, said at the start of the pandemic the much-needed PPEs were scarce and the available ones were being sold at a much higher rate than normal, hence the Accounting Officer had to grant the deviation.
However, Naidoo said the article was misleading.
“The Internal Audit Report, on which the article was based, initially surfaced around October 2020. The said document was an unsigned and untested report which bore a classification stamp of ‘Confidential’.
The said report has since surfaced on other platforms but we are not aware of any allegations or investigations ever resulting from this,” Naidoo said.
Emergency procurement of PPEs
He said had SAPS been given a right of reply to this publication, the journalist would have learnt that the SAPS Supply Chain Division was granted a deviation by the Accounting Officer on the 26 March 2020 which allowed Supply Chain to make emergency procurements of PPEs meaning that proper procurement processes and procedures were adhered to.
He said the PPE procurement process in the South African Police Service, like other government departments, came under scrutiny by the National Fusion Centre, a Center which acted as the co-ordinating body of law enforcement agencies tasked to look into Covid-19 graft.
“To this end, detailed submissions on the procurement of PPEs have been made to the Fusion Center. The SAPS management also went further and reported companies which sold PPEs at inflated prices to the Competition Commission of South Africa,” Naidoo said.
According to the report, an internal probe by SAPS exposed that irregular expenditure of R1.6 billion was incurred during the lockdown.
This includes R11 million for cloth masks and hand sanitiser sachets paid out to the Dr Love Foundation – a non-profit company that could not be traced on Treasury’s Database of Small Business Development.
And this on a verbal order to boot. There were 34 such verbal orders to the tune of R1 620 964 361.20, despite SAPS protocols not allowing for verbal authorisations of transactions of more than R500 000.
R642 million for sanitizer containers
The DA’s Andrew Whitfield revealed that an answer to an oral parliamentary question last year first revealed that SAPS had spent R1.4 billion on PPE procurement in the first few months of lockdown.
“We raised the alarm on what were blatantly overinflated prices on a number of PPE items. We revealed at the time that the SAPS spent a whopping R642 million, or nearly half of the total R1.4 billion, on 100 000 25 litre plastic sanitizer containers.
Upon investigation by the DA, it was discovered that a 25 liter plastic container filled with sanitizer could be purchased for less than R2 000. SAPS had procured these containers at an inflated price of more than 3 000%,” Whitfield said.
He has called on the HAWKS to investigate the allegations further.