SWAKOPMUND – Erongo regional governor Cleophas Mutjavikua says government bodies awarding tenders in the regions should consult and seek advice from the regional leadership to avoid catastrophes such as the recent food crisis experienced by state hospitals in the region.
They should also award tenders to more than one company to avoid crisis, the former unionist advised.
The governor’s appeal comes a week after state hospitals in the Erongo Region were left at the mercy of good Samaritans to provide food for patients after the contracted catering company, Tyetu Trading Enterprise, failed to supply food for three days to about 200 patients.
The company was awarded the catering contract in 2013 and its inability to provide food was due to serial non-payment from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, which crippled its ability to serve patients with food.
Tyetu Trading Enterprise’s contract expires end of this month.
The governor wants the ministry not to award the next catering contract to a single contractor in order to avoid supply crisis again.
Mutjavikua said this on Saturday during the handover of N$300 000 from the Erongo Marine Enterprise to set up an emergency foodbank for hospitals.
He said that although regions are not consulted when it comes to the awarding of such tenders, they are the first ones to respond and avert such crises.
“Thus I want such tenders to be awarded to at least three companies,” he said.
Mutjavikua also reminded the health ministry that the Erongo emergency foodbank should not be relied on by the ministry as it is just a temporary solution.
“I would like to make it clear that the foodbank is just a temporary solution to the crisis. The onus remains on the Ministry of Health and Social Services to ensure a permanent solution to avoid future repeats of the situation.”
According to the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhardt Esau, the catering company was in clear breach of contract.
“We all know the challenges that government often faces in various sectors in dealing with suppliers for essential commodities, especially when such suppliers do not want to comply with laid-down procurement procedures,” he said.
“I am however confident that the matter will conclusively and speedily be resolved, hence I urge patience by all stakeholders as the issue of supplies to our hospitals in Erongo Region are addressed.”
Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Services Ben Nangombe earlier told New Era that the challenges between the ministry and the catering company have been addressed and the outstanding invoices settled.