Wednesday 2024-06-19




By Zwelethu Dlamini | 2020-05-25


The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) is having a hard time procuring the much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) as prices have escalated by up to 600 per cent in a week.

This  led to some of the seven companies that had been selected to supply failing to deliver even a single item while others managed to deliver less than two per cent of the items.

The main reason for the failure is the sudden swelling of prices of the PPE attributed to the increase in demand globally and short supply.

Suppliers, upon winning the tenders found that the prices in the market had either doubled or increased by up to 600 per cent, making it impossible for them to get the required quantities at the cost they initially quoted.

The prices are also said to have been increased by the PPE import restrictions put it place by South Africa, which resulted in some of the companies sourcing the goods abroad at higher prices and additional logistics costs. 


National Disaster Management Procurement Officer Phesheya Dlamini said several companies that  had submitted lower quotations ended up requesting a price increase. Unfortunately, their requests were not considered leading to some failing to deliver the items while others reportedly supplied them at a loss.

“Within a week of award, the prices had increased a hundredfold to an extent that three companies came back to us requesting a price increase of over 100 per cent of the quoted price.

“For instance, the supplier of gowns had initially said he would supply us the gowns at E197 each.  He, however, came back and requested to at least supply at a revised price of not less than E400. the only supplier that did not have a problem was the one who had quoted E1 300. Similarly the company that was to supply gumboots ended up failing to do so because of the price hike,” he said.

This was confirmed by director of health services Dr. Vusi Magagula, who stated that suppliers were struggling to deliver goods on time. Magagula said some COVID-19 supplies were not available as countries rushed for them due to the pressing demand.


According to documents seen by this publication, the NDMA had ordered 1 000 gumboots at E150 each but not a single pair was delivered. 

On the other hand, the ministry of health had requested 100 000 long-sleeved fluid repellent disposable gowns, but considering the available resources and hike in prices,  it ended up ordering 70 000.

Of these, only 2 625 were delivered.

Again the ministry had requested 100 000 disposable coveralls with head cover, which each cost E224 but the agency had ordered 51 000 units and the supplier only managed to deliver 3 495 while 3 820 were donated by the WHO, UN and Jack Ma Foundation.


Out of the 3 000 N95 respirator small masks that were ordered, the suppliers delivered 1 000 units while 50 260 masks were donated by WHO, UN and jack Ma Foundation.  A total of 380 folio dress gowns were delivered out of the 40 000 that had been ordered. Out of 100 000 disposable water resistant aprons, the agency only received 37 000. On pharmaceuticals, the agency had not been able to procure Erythromacin tablets 500mg yet it needed 5 000 units. Out of 25 000 units of sodium chloride the agency only received 1 060 units.

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