The South African Police Service has rubbished a report that it allegedly “blew R1.6 billion” on irregular personal protective equipment (PPE) procurements in just six months of 2020
THE SOUTH African Police Service (SAPS) has rubbished a report that it allegedly “blew R1.6 billion” on irregular personal protective equipment (PPE) procurements in just six months of 2020.
The report was published by the Daily Maverick and was based on an apparent confidential SAPS risk-based and compliance draft internal audit report.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the internal audit report that initially surfaced around October 2020 was “unsigned and untested”.
“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 in a statement on Tuesday.
“Had the South African Police Service 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 26th of March 2020 which allowed Supply Chain to make emergency procurements of PPEs, meaning that proper procurement processes and procedures were adhered to,” he said.
According to the Daily Maverick report, the R1.6 billion includes R11 million paid out on a verbal order in May 2020 to a “non-profit” company, Dr Love Foundation, “who could not be traced on Treasury’s Database of Small Business Development”.
The report further stated that a tender for cloth masks and sachets of hand sanitiser was awarded after “the supplier wrote a correspondence to SAPS stating that his foundation intends to offer services and assistance to SAPS in the current fight against the pandemic”.
The 27-page “Draft Audit Report, Division Supply Management 2020/21, File Reference C23/3/21”, dated September 2020, covered transactions from March 2020 to August 2020 and which did not form part of the auditor-general’s sample, the Daily Maverick report alleged.
The report noted that the delegation of authority within the SAPS does not provide for verbal authorisation on transactions of more than R500,000, but despite that “thirty four (34) orders to the value of R1,620,964,361.20 were issued on the basis of a verbal authorisation, and without obtaining sufficient number of quotations,” reported Major-General DT Nkosi, SAPS chief audit executive.
The audit was performed in accordance with the SAPS Internal Audit Plan for the year ending March 31, 2021 and as approved by the audit committee.
Naidoo, however, said that 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 SAPS accounting officer had to grant the deviation.
“Furthermore, the PPE procurement process in the South African Police Service, like other government departments, came under scrutiny by the National Fusion Centre, a centre which acted as the co-ordinating body of law enforcement agencies tasked to look into Covid-19 graft.”