Hand sanitiser supplier ‘inflates prices’
De Lille probes claim that cost to public is R9.50; but R79 when sold to public works department that she runs
PUBLIC Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille said yesterday her department was investigating allegations that a supplier was selling hand sanitiser to the public for R9.50 and at the inflated price of R79 to the government.
De Lille revealed this when she and her deputy, Noxolo Kiviet, briefed the media in Parliament on interventions of her department and the construction and built environment industry to Covid-19.
“We are investigating it. We have been alerted by a supplier that this is happening,” she said.
De Lille expressed her disgust that some suppliers were resorting to inflating prices.
“It is very painful for me that in a time when we need to unite and stand together, people see an opportunity to make more money,” she said.
“If you can look at surfaces that we need to sanitise and clean up, I really think it is immoral… I think from R9.50 to R79 because it is government is just too much,” she said.
De Lille called on the public to alert them to unscrupulous suppliers and poor quality sanitisers. “Unless it has 60% of alcohol content, it is not going to help you. People will be left under the false pretext that they now have sanitised their hands when, in fact, they have not,” she added.
The minister also told the media that her department had identified 37 state-owned properties that could be used as quarantine sites in various provinces.
“Some of these sites will be available to people in informal settlements where there are no such facilities.”
According to De Lille, teams in her department have been visiting all districts to access the properties and the sites have been communicated to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
She also announced that some provincial governments had already availed their properties to be used as quarantine centres.
The Free State has advised about the Trompsburg Hospital and the Ladybrand Hospital because they were currently being used below capacity.
KwaZulu-Natal has availed a number of sites in Durban North, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay and Port Shepstone.
Limpopo also availed four properties in Waterberg, Vhembe, Capricorn and Mopani district. North West has a number of sites, including four hospitals.
De Lille also announced that R37.2 million will be spent to install a fence within a month at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“This to ensure that no undocumented or infected persons cross into the country, and vice-versa”.
She said she had invoked emergency procurement procedures for the erection and repairs of the border fence.
“It was identified that a total of 40km of 1.8m high fence has to be erected, 20km on either side of Beitbridge.”
The contractor has already been appointed and was handed the site yesterday to commence the work.
Kiviet said people from outside the country could enter via the border post and the new measure was to prevent illegal entry into the country.
“That is a threat not only to the surroundings but the whole country; hence, the measures have to be taken,” she said.
De Lille also said the measures taken could not be viewed as xenophobia.
“What is important for South Africa is we want to protect our citizens and also protect people coming into our country,” she said, adding Beitbridge had a high volume of people coming through and leaving the country, hence the emergency measures.