Dramatic new evidence has come to light that ANC bigwig Sello Sekhokho scored nearly R100 million in contracts from Gauteng public hospitals awarded to his three companies.
According to information by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, 225 contracts were awarded in the last three years to Kaizen Projects, Nokhokhoko Medical Supplies, and Bollanoto Security. This totals about R84 million.
These payments were to hospitals other than Tembisa Hospital, whereas in a previous reply to my questions it was disclosed that the three companies got R14.5 million in 55 contracts from Tembisa Hospital in the last three years.
Adding them together, we get 280 contracts worth about R98.5 million awarded to Sekhokho’s three companies. He is currently the ANC Ekurhuleni Region Treasurer General.
It is poignant that this bombshell information is revealed today when the family of murdered Gauteng health official Babita Deokaran commemorate what would have been her 54th birthday.
She raised the alarm over suspicious payments to Sekhokho’s companies by Tembisa Hospital, but according to a News24 investigation, she was instructed by then Health CFO Lerato Madyo to pay the companies and keep it secret. Madyo is now suspended along with the Tembisa Hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi, and the SIU is investigating the R850 million payments to fishy companies that Babita flagged as “possibly fraudulent.”
Nkomo-Ralehoko gives a table in her reply to me that indicates only R4.6 million paid to the companies, but this is contradicted by the appendices which indicate a far higher amount.
All the payments are under R500 000, which allows the hospital CEO to sign off the contracts instead of going out to tender.
Nkomo-Ralehoko says that none of the companies has SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) approval for the sale of medical products, and “a number of irregularities were noted after the audit/assessment of internal controls.”
A quick perusal of the payments shows blatant overcharging and fishy purchases.
Bollanoto Security provided no security services but sold a wide variety of goods and even food supplies. This includes 108 “rain suits” of various sizes for men and women, at a total cost of R1.88 million. This is R17 000 for each rain suit!
R196 000 was apparently spent on 17 v-neck jerseys – this is R11 500 per jersey.
And why on earth was R294 000 spent on socks for Tokyo Sexwale Primary School?
The food is similarly overpriced – R937 000 was spent on 1920 kg of 6mm boerewors sausage, which amounts to R488 per kg, as opposed to boerewors that can be bought for R100 per kg at a supermarket.
Gross overcharging abounds in the purchase orders of all three companies e.g. R2.5 million for 40 t-shirts provided by Nokhokhoko, and R280 000 for 27 men’s parabellum brown leather shoes.
Overpriced goods were still being bought from the companies in July this year.
It’s outrageous! 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.
I will ask further questions about which hospitals awarded the contracts as the CEOs and supply chain management officials in these hospitals should be held to account.
We also need to know whether any of the money from Sekhokho’s contracts found its way to the ANC, especially now with all the ANC conferences. The SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO) claimed in June this year that inflated payments for contracts at Tembisa Hospital were intended for vote rigging and bribery by senior ANC officials in Gauteng.
I have always suspected that there was high-level political protection for rotten officials in the Gauteng Health Department which is embroiled in endless scandals.
The Democratic Alliance demands that a freeze be put immediately on all further payments to Sekhokho’s companies. Furthermore, measures must be taken as soon as possible to get money back from his companies which benefited from massive price gouging.
We need not wait for the SIU investigation to conclude when the overcharging evidence is so obvious.