The North West Department of Education is under serious investigation from the SIU following R9.2 million cloth mask scandal. According to the statement release by the SIU this afternoon, an informal procurement committee set up by the North West Department of Education has exposed the Department to over expenditure totaling more than R6.5 million relating to face cloth masks.

Ordinarily, all competitive Bids above R500 000 that are awarded by Government Entities must be awarded by a Bid Adjudication committee in terms of National Treasury regulations. The Bid Adjudication Committee consider the recommendations of the Bid Evaluation Committee and depending on the delegated powers make a final award or a recommendation to the accounting officer to make a final award.

With the second RFQ, five (5) service providers were appointed to the value of R5,512 million. However, the Department used the two RFQs to procure 400 000 masks, 300 000
more than what was initially requested. The irregularity has resulted in the Department having to pay more than R9.2 million for masks instead of R2,5 million. The regulated price
for the face cloth mask by the National Treasury is R25.
The SIU investigation has also revealed that one (1) service provider was appointed despite submitting a quotation after the cut off time. Furthermore, the committee even requested that one (1) of the service providers reduce their quotation so that it be below the threshold
set by National Treasury.
This is the second irregularity relating to PPE procurement that the SIU has uncovered in the North West Department of Education.
The SIU has commenced with the civil litigation process to declare the contract invalid and unlawful, and to recover any financial losses suffered by the North West Provincial
Government. In line with SIU Act of 1996, the SIU made a disciplinary referral against members of the informal procurement committee for flouting supply chain management
processes and for exposing the Department to over expenditure of more than R6.5 million in the appointment of service providers elegated powers make a final award or a recommendation to the accounting officer to make a final award.
The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) investigation has revealed that the Department established an informal committee to manage the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) outside the committee as provided by in terms of Treasury regulations.
The SIU investigation in the affairs of the Department has uncovered that the committee may have committed financial misconduct as it failed to ensure that the supply chain
management governing public procurement process was fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. The investigation further shows that two requests for quotations (RFQ) were issued by the committee on behalf of the Department for the supply and delivery of 50 000 masks per RFQ. In the first RFQ, three (3) service providers were appointed to the value of R3,7 million.