Repatriation of SA citizens from China cost taxpayers R11.2 million

Repatriation of SA citizens from China cost taxpayers R11.2 million

- The repatriation of South Africans from China cost R11.2 million of taxpayers' money

- The Protea Hotel Ranch Resort in Limpopo received the large sum for their facilities that were used for quarantine

- The Health Department has spent R87.3 million in total on goods and services related to the Covid-19 pandemic

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Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize reported that South African taxpayers paid R11.2 million for the 184 South African citizens who were repatriated from China and accommodated for 14 days at Protea Hotel Ranch Resort in Limpopo.

In March, 184 South Africans were repatriated from China amid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The R11.2 million formed part of R87.3 million of goods and services procured without following the normal tender process due to the outbreak of the virus.

Dr Mkhize revealed this information after a probe from opposition parties. DA MP Philippus van Staden had asked about the details of tenders connected to the Covid-19 pandemic that the Health Department had awarded.

In his response, Dr Mkhize said no tenders related to the Covid-19 pandemic had been awarded but goods and services were acquired. He said:

"Deviations were made from standards of supply chain management, not for tenders as no tenders were awarded, but for goods and services acquired."
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Dr Mkhize named nine goods and services that were procured to the value of R87.3 million. The South Africans repatriated from China had to be quarantined for 14 days as part of the Covid-19 regulations. Some of the goods and services procured was their accommodation.

The repatriated citizens stayed at Protea Hotel Ranch Resort in Limpopo. The cost of the accommodation, logistics, support team involved all amounted to R11.2 million.

Other Covid-19 related expenditures include Yellow Technical Services , which received R10.5 million for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of eight static scanners and 91 hand-held scanners at various ports of entry.

Intelligent Medical Systems received R18 million for the provision of a National Covid-19 surveillance and case management system to strengthen Covid-19 laboratory and hospital-based reporting for six months.

Digital Vibes received R35.9 million for a Covid-19 communication strategy. Dr Mkhize listed the various other expenditures all amounting to R87.3 million.

When asked about quarantine sites for repatriated citizens, Dr Mkhize said his department was not involved with that and the process was spearheaded by the Department of Public Works.

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