Pretoria – The DA’s Jack Bloom said he was not convinced that a coding error was behind the alleged purchase of overpriced equipment, including the curious purchase of skinny jeans at the Tembisa Hospital.
On Wednesday, Bloom, who is the party’s health spokesperson in Gauteng, met with the hospital’s acting CEO Mohlamme Mathabathe to find out whether overpriced skinny jeans, luxury armchairs and hand towels were delivered to the hospital after the health facility allegedly paid R1.5 million for these items.
According to a News24 report, the hospital paid R850m to alleged dodgy companies for overpriced goods, including R500 000 for 100 leather armchairs, face cloths at R230 a piece, and 200 skinny jeans for young girls at R2 500 each.
Speaking to Radio 702, suspended CEO Ashley Mthunzi said the hospital did not buy 200 skinny jeans. He said they had purchased sutures instead, which were used by surgeons to stitch wounds.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has since placed him on suspension.
When speaking to reporters after his visit, Bloom said he is not convinced that the goods described by the hospital were actually delivered and it was suspicious, he said, that the hospital is blaming coding errors.
He said Mathabathe, told him that they did not buy cloth towels, but bought paper towels, it was a mistake on the coding errors.
“On the skinny jeans, they said it was surgical suture and it was also misclassified, but it was purchased. They claim the armchairs were delivered, so we did go to an ICU unit and they showed us chairs which were not armchairs, they were different type of chairs and I’m not sure if they should have cost R5 000 each.
“I asked, how can there be so many coding errors, why can’t they get the controls right, and mostly, why have they overspent by more than R740m last year and the hospital doesn’t have a budget this year (because) they are still paying for the splurge last year.
“There has just been a massive wastage of funds from fishy companies that came into being a month before. We have one person controlling about 10 companies and making lots of money out of this.”
Last month, the Gauteng provincial government placed the chief financial officer of the Gauteng Department of Health, Lerato Madyo and the hospital’s chief executive, Ashley Mthunzi, on precautionary suspension.