The United Kingdom government has rejected R6 billion worth of masks supplied to its NHS by a firm headed by a South African.
According to the Business Insider UK, the UK government bought fifty million face masks for its National Health Service from Ayanda Capital, whose co-founder and chief operating officer is South African-born Nathan Engelbrecht.
Ayanda Capital won a contract with the UK government to supply the masks to the British National Health Service (NHS) in April.
However, the government said the masks will no longer be used after concerns were raised as to whether the masks would provide adequate fixing.
The masks use ear-loop fastenings rather than ties around the head, which may not be tight enough for health workers.
The UK government recalled the masks after The Good Law Project, a nonprofit legal-rights organisation, launched a legal challenge over the government’s PPE contracts.
It has come to light that the deal was arranged by Andrew Mills, an adviser to the UK government, who sits on the board of Ayanda Capital.
Mills has said that his position as a government advisor did not play a role in the decision to contract Ayanda Capital.
Engelbrecht also told the UK publication, Wealth Manager, that due process was followed throughout the procurement process.
According to the Ayanda Capital company website, Engelbrecht holds business degrees from the University of Cape Town.
Engelbrecht is also a director of three South African based companies, including Ayanda South Africa, with its head office listed in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, according to Companies and Intellectual Property Commission records.
Tim Horlick who is Engelbrecht’s business partner is also a director of the local Ayanda group, and of another company registered at the same Bantry Bay address, called BGC.