Johannesburg - ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s cousin won a R44m pharmaceutical contract in Limpopo without submitting a formal tender.
Tshepo Malema's Arandi Trading Enterprises is one of eight companies whose dealings with the province’s health and social development department is now the subject of an internal fraud and corruption probe.
The companies were awarded tenders worth R167m to supply syringes, surgical blades, disposable needles, labels for medicines and patient referral forms to Limpopo’s hospitals and clinics.
Despite treasury regulations, which require competitive bids for all contracts above R500 000, the department issued the tenders through a written quotation system in February this year.
Departmental spokesperson Joe Maila confirmed that Phil Setsiba, the senior manager for pharmaceutical services, has been suspended for allegedly inflating the quantity of stocks needed and the costs involved.
Maila said: "We picked up there could be some issues related to procurement at the depot. So we have since instituted an internal investigation to determine what could have happened."
Setsiba declined to comment.
Vuna Healthcare Logistics, a company contracted to manage the department's pharmaceutical depot, its procurement, warehousing and pharmaceutical distribution systems, distanced itself from the controversial tenders.
Stanley Mashego, one of its directors, said: "Everything was done by the department.
"After deciding who gets what, they just tell us what it is they have awarded to which person, and that we should take orders."
Maila would not say why the department outsourced the depot's procurement systems, saying he would comment further after investigations.
City Press is in possession of an internal memorandum, written on February 21 by the department's manager for regulatory and quality assurance, Happy Mohale, to Deliwe Nyathikazi, the acting head of department, labelling the tenders as "corruption and maladministration of public funds".
Mohale’s memorandum also alleges that bid members were made to sign an "oath of secrecy form" to keep quiet.
Nyathikazi refused to sign off payment orders, saying she "cannot sign an order" worth R167m as it was "way above my level".
She also slammed the tender process, saying it was "impossible for an item's usage to increase from 1 300 to 500 000".
Tshepo Malema this week said that everything was above board.
He said: "I delivered, but did not get anything. I have not yet reached the stage of enquiring why I have not been paid."
Another beneficiary of the tender is Nthabiseng Ntshangase, a business partner of known Julius Malema ally Ali Boshielo.
Ntshangase, who shares a Polokwane residential address with Boshielo, said she won the contract fairly.
Boshielo’s company, Bitline SA 694, built a house for athletics champion Caster Semenya on behalf of Julius Malema two years ago. Ntshangase and Boshielo are business partners in another company called Candopro (Pty) Ltd.
Boshielo did not return repeated calls and a text message.
- City Press