The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State has appealed for transparency on COVID-19 expenditure after the provincial Finance Department announced that it spent R49 million rand in the fight against the virus.

DA Chief Whip David van Vuuren says there should be accountability on spending.

Van Vuuren says, “We are very concerned as the Democratic Alliance, we want to see what expenditure has been taking place in the province. We had a briefing by the MEC of finance this week, where they indicated how the money is going to be spent. We want to see that there is regular reporting in these, to the public account also…”

He adds: “What we do welcome is the fact that the MEC of Finance did say that they want to spend money on local businesses and that they want to stimulate businesses in the Free State,” added Van Vuuren.

Last week, the DA also accused the Free State government of selectively disseminating information on COVID-19 outcomes.

The party accused the government of drawing a veil of secrecy on the screening and testing of the coronavirus in the province.

However, the Free State Health Department has dismissed the DA’s accusations as baseless.

“It’s our surprise, the whole country is congratulating the department on the good work that has been done. Firstly, for the swift reaction toward containment of the virus from its beginning. Even before we were first announced as a province that is going to host an isolation centre in the country, we took media there to show our state of readiness. We informed everybody in the legislature, the committee on the social cluster, we have been transparent as we could be.”

The DA submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application, to compel the provincial health department to release detailed COVID-19 statistics.

The total number of confirmed cases in the Free State are 135 with only six deaths.