The Gauteng health department has had to discard 141 000 half-litre bottles of expired sanitiser at a whopping cost of R12.7 million to taxpayers, MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi has revealed.
Mokgethi disclosed this in the Gauteng legislature in a written reply to a question from the DA’s Jack Bloom.
According to Bloom, Mokgethi said the department paid almost R100 million for 544 000 units of sanitiser for the Covid-19 pandemic. A total of 141 000 units – about 70 000 litres – could not be used as they had expired.
They are being stored in a quarantine area at a warehouse.
“Mokgethi says that the sanitisers expired as they had a limited product validity period of one year, from 31 March 2020 to 31 March 2021,” he said.
Bloom said samples of the sanitiser were submitted to the Quality Assurance department in December 2020 to check the quality, but no feedback has been received to date.
Bloom said corruption may well be involved.
“I am concerned that poor quality sanitiser was bought as it should normally be valid for at least three years. Why has the Quality Assurance department still not given a report on this after one year?
“Health workers often complain that they are not given sufficient sanitisers, which adds to the risks they face with rampant Covid-19 infections,” Bloom said.
Bloom added that accountability was needed in the matter, as well as penalties for the companies that provided substandard supplies.