No evidence state overpaid firms to sanitise Gauteng schools, tribunal told

The companies were awarded a R431 million tender to clean schools but the Special Investigative Unit wants the contract to be declared invalid and unlawful and recoup the money.

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JOHANNESBURG - Companies contracted to sanitise and disinfect schools in Gauteng and who are accused of inflating prices consider themselves national heroes and told the Special Tribunal that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was failing to acknowledge this.

On Wednesday, the service providers and the SIU presented their arguments before the tribunal.

READ: Firms implicated in R431m school sanitising tender scandal point fingers at GDE

The companies were awarded a R431 million tender to clean schools but the SIU wants the contract to be declared invalid and unlawful and recoup the money.

"These respondents, these service providers they were saying we are going to be national heroes, we are going to the ground, we are going to face this pandemic that is killing and put our loved ones that we have left at home at risk."

R. Bvumbi represents some companies in the case.

He has put the blame squarely on the SIU, saying that it failed to recognise that those who were contracted to disinfect schools put their lives at risk to make sure that the places of learning were COVID-19 free.

Also speaking on behalf of the service providers, John Peter argued that the SIU had no evidence that the state paid way more than it should have.

"The state should only be concerned and the SIU and the Special Tribunal should only be concerned where the state, through irregular process, is out of pocket and paid more than it should have. There is no evidence whatsoever that the state overpaid."

The companies have denied that the money was inflated and should all be recovered.

Judgment has been reserved.