Health dept dismisses talks of deliberate tender delays despite R784m budget | The Citizen

Health dept dismisses talks of deliberate tender delays despite R784m budget | The Citizen

The department says it is only ensuring that government supply chain processes are followed as outlined in the PFMA.

The Gauteng department of health has dismissed any suggestions that it is deliberately delaying the awarding of a tender for the outsourcing of oncology radiation services for breast and prostate cancer patients.

On Tuesday, DA’s shadow MEC for health in Gauteng Jack Bloom questioned the tender process and asked if it had been botched.

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The tender is to address the backlog in surgical and radiation oncology services, with an allocation of R784 million in May 2023.

According to department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba, R534 million of this amount has been invested on oncology medical and allied equipment such as cutting-edge linear accelerator machines and the building of bunkers for some of the machines within this financial year.

He said: “In addition, R250 million has been allocated for the outsourcing of the radiation oncology tender, which is at an advanced stage of finalisation.”

The tender for the outsourcing of radiation services for cancer patients was issued in October and closed on 3 November.

Modiba said the department then commenced with the evaluation of the tender on 21 November and concluded it on 16 January.

However, Bloom expressed suspicions due to the department’s lack of updates, suggesting possible mishandling instead of securing the best deal.

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“This raises suspicions about whether the tender has been botched, instead of getting the best deal from the best supplier,” said Bloom.

“The delays are risking the lives of hundreds of cancer patients who need treatment as soon as possible. This includes those with breast, colon and prostate cancer.”

He called on the department to make use of the budget before the end of the financial year − in two month’s time.

‘No tender delays’

The department says there are no delays, and while it has done everything on its side, it is awaiting the auditor’s review on the integrity of the tender process.

“The department dismisses any false and misleading claims reported on the alleged delays and assures the public that provision of high-quality healthcare services for all patients in Gauteng remains our utmost priority,” said Modiba.

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“Contrary to the claim made, the department has made progress in addressing the backlog in surgical and radiation oncology services since the allocation of R784 million to address the issue.

“While the department understands the urgency and importance of finalising the procurement process to ensure that patients receive the necessary care, it is imperative to note that government supply chain processes must be followed as outlined in the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act],” said Modiba.

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