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Could the Scooter Scandal have been Prevented?

Excerpts taken from The South African articles:

A wasted R______ on ‘wheelbarrows’: Eastern Cape blasted for scooter scandal; and

Scooter Project backfires, Eastern Cape tender process raises red flags, The South African

The Eastern Cape Health Department has been left red-faced on Thursday after their plan to introduce a fleet of scooters to fight the coronavirus crisis was rubbished by the Minister of Health. Initially planned to work as an emergency taxi service for stricken rural citizens, the scooters can now only be used to ferry medicine.

Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that these scooters do not meet the basic Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regulations. Therefore, they cannot be used for their intended purpose. It’s just a shame that the regional government had to squander an eight-figure fee in the middle of a pandemic to figure this out.

The Eastern Cape’s controversial ‘Scooter Project’ — which, during its launch, was hailed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize as an innovative medical model — has fuelled allegations of tender corruption and emboldened calls for the provincial health department to be placed under administration.

Dear Net Buddies,

Can you figure out how much these 100 scooters cost? Hint: There is a clue in the second paragraph.

What don’t the scooters do that they were supposed to?

What is the most important question you think should have been asked before the funds were released?

Save those answers for Infinite Family staff – it’s an investment in getting a future position that lets you take a stand and stop snafus like this.

15 Comments on “Could the Scooter Scandal have been Prevented?

Elizabeth Makhanya
August 5, 2020 at 6:50 am

I think they costed 8 million. They supposed to help to transport people rural areas to make it easy during this crisis. I think the most important guestion was is it ok to invest such money to the scooters and how is it going to work.

Reply
Amy Stokes
August 27, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Hello Elizabeth,
I think the questions you would ask are very good ones.
You are close with your estimate, but if you read paragraph 2 carefully, it does not say “8” was in the number itself, but rather the figure is 8 digits. So the correct answer is: R10,000,000.
Thank you for writing back,
Amy

Timothy O'Mara
September 15, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Hey, Elizabeth. It is unclear from the article how much each scooter cost. When the author says “eight-figure fee,” that means at least 10,000,000. (A “figure” means a “place value” in this case.) And the author did not say if thatwas for all the scooters or just one.

You are right: the scooters were meant to transport people, but they did not meet the EMS requirements, so they’re only being used to deliver medications.

I rewrote your response below. See if you can notice the changes (edits) that I made.

(YOU) I think they costed 8 million. They supposed to help to transport people rural areas to make it easy during this crisis. I think the most important guestion was is it ok to invest such money to the scooters and how is it going to work.

(TIM) I think they cost eight million. They were supposed to help transport people in rural areas to make travel easier during this crisis. I think the most important question was, Is it okay to invest this amount of money into the scooters? And how was the scooter program supposed to work?

Just to point out: “costed” is not the past tense of “cost.” Cost is one of those words that is the same for present tense (These cost $8 each.) and the past tense (These cost me $8 each.) “Costed”–although it looks like it makes sense–is not a word in English.

Tim

Bahle Damane
August 5, 2020 at 6:35 am

The scooters costed 8 million to support the Eastern Cape Health Department during this covid 19 crisis.

Reply
Amy Stokes
August 27, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Hello Bahle,
Thank you for taking this challenge. You made a common mistake in your estimate though. Please note that the articles says “8 digits” in the number, not that the number contains “8”. The correct answer is: R10,000,000.
Great try,
Amy

Timothy O'Mara
September 15, 2020 at 1:25 pm

Hello, Bahle. The author writes that there was an “eight-figure fee” for the scooters. This means the fee was at least 10,000,000. The author does not tell us if that was for one scooter or all of them, so it is confusing. I rewrote your response below and made a few notes for you.

(Bahle) The scooters costed 8 million to support the Eastern Cape Health Department during this covid 19 crisis.
(TIM) The scooters cost an eight-figure fee to support the Eastern Cape Health Department during this Covid-19 crisis.

“Costed” is not a word in English; the past tense of “cost” is “cost.” (English does not always follow its own rules.) You can pick up on stuff like that by reading as much English as you can. For example, if you bought something yesterday, you would write, “This book cost me $8.” If you were looking at books today, you would write, “Those books cost $8 each.” So, in English, we don’t always put “-ed” at the end of the word to show past tense.

I look forward to reading your next responses. Please try and answer all the questions. I can tell you know how to write, so push yourself. That’t the best way to get better at writing English.

Tim

Mihle Mpambani
August 5, 2020 at 6:32 am

I think the scooters costed 24 million. Their suppose to help us fight civid 19 and attend emargencies.

Reply
Amy Stokes
August 27, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Hello Mihle,
Thanks for responding to this article. Wow, those would be some very expensive scooters. You were correct in recognizing that the answer needs 8 digits, which R24,000,000 does have. However, the correct answer is R10,000,000.
Nice job!
Amy

Timothy O'Mara
September 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Hello, Mihle.

The author writes that there was an “eight-figure fee” for the scooters. This means the fee was at least 10,000,000. The author does not tell us if that was for one scooter or all of them, so it is confusing. I rewrote your response below and made a few notes for you.

(Mihle) I think the scooters costed 24 million. Their suppose to help us fight civid 19 and attend emargencies.
(TIM) I think the scooters cost twenty-four million. They were supposed to help us fight Covid-19 and attent to emergencies.

“Costed” is not a word in English; the past tense of “cost” is “cost.” (English does not always follow its own rules.) You can pick up on stuff like that by reading as much English as you can. For example, if you bought something yesterday, you would write, “This book cost me $8.” If you were looking at books today, you would write, “Those books cost $8 each.” So, in English, we don’t always put “-ed” at the end of the word to show past tense.

I also made some spelling corrections for you. Be sure to take your time; I can tell you are a thoughtful student. Please do your best to make sure that comes through in your written English.

Their–“That’s their house next to mine.”
There–“That’s my brother’s house over there.”
They’re–“I don’t think they’re (they are) home right now.”

The above three words confuse a lot of people, even those who grew up speaking and writing English.

Tim

Tsebo Damane
August 4, 2020 at 4:30 am

I think they costed 8 million.

Reply
Amy Stokes
August 27, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Hello Tsebo,
Good guess because the article does say “8 digits” but what they meant was R10,000,000 – see there are 8 spaces in the number.
Thanks for giving this a great try,
Amy

Timothy O'Mara
September 15, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Hello, Tsebo. The author writes that there was an “eight-figure fee” for the scooters. This means the fee was at least 10,000,000. The author does not tell us if that was for one scooter or all of them, so it is confusing.

“Costed” is not a word in English; the past tense of “cost” is “cost.” (English does not always follow its own rules.) You can pick up on stuff like that by reading as much English as you can. For example, if you bought something yesterday, you would write, “This book cost me $8.” If you were looking at books today, you would write, “Those books cost $8 each.” So, in English, we don’t always put “-ed” at the end of the word to show past tense. Confusing, right?

I’m looking forward to your next response. Remember, push yourself a bit more. You’re a good writer. You can become better by expanding your answers and learning from any mistakes you may make.

Tim

Sicelo Nokulila
August 4, 2020 at 4:29 am

I think the scooter’s costed 8 million.
They were supposed to help us fight covid 19 by attending to emergencies.

Reply
Amy Stokes
August 27, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Hello Sicelo,
You are absolutely right about the scooters purpose. But you are just a little off in cost. R8,000,000 only has 7 digits in the number so you need to go to the next column to get R10,000,000.
Nice response, thank you,
Amy

Timothy O'Mara
September 15, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Hello, Sicelo. The author writes that there was an “eight-figure fee” for the scooters. This means the fee was at least 10,000,000. The author does not tell us if that was for one scooter or all of them, so it is unclear.

“Costed” is not a word in English; the past tense of “cost” is “cost.” (English does not always follow its own rules.) You can pick up on stuff like that by reading as much English as you can. For example, if you bought something yesterday, you would write, “This book cost me $8.” If you were looking at books today, you would write, “Those books cost $8 each.” So, in English, we don’t always put “-ed” at the end of the word to show past tense. Confusing, right?

I’ve rewritten your responses below. See if you can notice the changes.

(Sicelo) I think the scooter’s costed 8 million.
(TIM) I think the scooters cost eight million.

(Sicelo) They were supposed to help us fight covid 19 by attending to emergencies.
(TIM) They were supposed to help us fight Covid 19 by attending to emergencies.

The big change was the apostrophe in “scooter’s.” Apostrophes usually mean one of two things: ownership–“That’s Sicelo’s bicycle.” Or they can be used in a contraction and substitute for the word “is”–“I think Sicelo’s riding a bicycle now.”

Keep up the good work, and I look forwad to your next responses.

Tim

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