SIU probe flags hand sanitiser, disinfectant contracts as irregular at Free State’s Lejweleputswa Municipality

The Special Investigating Unit’s latest report has found that the procurement process followed by Lejweleputswa Municipality in procuring hand sanitiser and disinfectant was irregular, prompting referrals from the SIU for disciplinary action against three municipal officials.
A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation has uncovered procurement irregularities in two contracts awarded by the Lejweleputswa District Municipality in the Free State to Biomass Equipment (Pty) Ltd for hand sanitiser and disinfectant.
The municipality failed to ensure the prices charged by Biomass were in line with the prices for personal protective equipment (PPE) determined by National Treasury, resulting in irregular expenditure amounting to R198,792.74 incurred by the municipality.
This is according to the SIU’s supplementary “final” report on its investigation into allegations of corruption in the procurement of goods and services during the National State of Disaster.
The SIU’s final report on its Covid-19 investigations into possible corruption in procurement was made public in January this year, after it was submitted to the Presidency in late 2021, Daily Maverick’s Ufrieda Ho reported. However, not all investigations were finalised, necessitating a supplementary “final” report on outstanding matters being handed to the President in July 2022.
Reard in Daily Maverick: “Latest SIU report reveals billions more rands of unlawful and dodgy Covid-19 spending exposed”
Lejweleputswa District Municipality
The Lejweleputswa District Municipality area is in the northwestern part of the Free State and is made up of five local municipalities: Matjhabeng, Masilonyana, Nala, Tswelopele and Tokologo.
The Auditor-General’s (AG) report on the 2020/21 municipal audit outcomes revealed that Lejweleputswa Municipality received an unqualified with findings audit outcome. This means the municipality was able to produce quality financial statements “but struggled to produce quality performance reports and comply with all key legislation”.
Both the AG and the local governance ratings agency Ratings Afrika (RA), in its annual municipal financial sustainability index (MFSI), have identified Free State municipalities as the worst-run in the country. Not a single municipality in the province has received a clean audit in the past five years. The dire situation in the province has already led to a breakdown in service delivery which has fuelled unrest in many communities, as residents have grown increasingly dissatisfied with pothole-riddled roads, having to go for days without water, and refuse sometimes not being collected for weeks.
Read in Daily Maverick: “AG slams failing Free State municipalities after no clean audit in 5 years”
The SIU investigation into Lejweleputswa District Municipality was triggered by allegations from a whistle-blower who ...