President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the public release of the final report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the procurement — by all spheres of government — of goods, works and services associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Within the healthcare sector, the SIU report speaks to the irregular procurement of PPE by the Gauteng Department of Health through Royal Bhaca which “is not registered with SAHPRA and may not deal in medical devices.”
The pending investigation resulted in further coverups by the Department, Royal Bhaca and Ledla, another supplier. As a consequence, in February 2021, the SIU referred evidence in support of a criminal charge of fraud against the directors of Ledla and Royal Bhaca to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Through the Special Tribunal, cost recovery efforts by the SIU total R24.1 million with a further outstanding R99.2 million contract amount declared to be invalid and not due and owing. The Digital Vibes findings and outcomes have not been included in this final report. Read a report summary here.
SAMED calls on medtech suppliers, patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions, that is everyone who works within or passes through the health system, to be accountable. We need to blow the whistle on corruption to ensure that perpetrators face justice and to deter future crimes.
SAMED has two potent instruments to champion good governance within the medtech sector and encourages members, fellow medtech suppliers, the public, healthcare professionals, procurement officials and healthcare funders also make use of them:
- The Medical Device Code for Ethical Marketing and Business Practice is a defender of ethics and a self-regulation mechanism to safeguard against unethical conduct. SAMED asks that anyone who is buying or using medical technologies insists that the supplier is a signatory of the Code, which provides clear, practical instruction for ethical business and marketing conduct and guides on how to deal with transgressions.
- The Medical Device Code Whistleblowing Hotline is independently managed and enables anonymous tip-offs regarding the Code. Other inappropriate activities happening in the healthcare space should also be reported through the various reporting channels or through the Medical Device Code Whistleblowing Hotline whereby it is sent to the relevant authority.