President Cyril Ramaphosa has described as unconscionable officials who allegedly use the health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, to unlawfully enrich themselves.
This after Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, and his wife Loyiso Masuku, went on a leave of absence this week amid a scandal over alleged irregularities relating to a R125 million personal protective equipment (PPEs) tender. The tender was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects, a company owned by Diko’s husband King Madzikane II Diko.
In a statement, President Ramaphosa says law enforcement agencies have been empowered to investigate allegations of corruption.
The ANC asks implicated individuals to take leave of absence:
Parties call for urgent action
Political parties in Parliament have added to calls for urgent action over dodgy COVID-19 related contracts.
The Congress of the People (COPE) has vowed to put pressure on government to make sure that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s call that a list of all companies awarded COVID-19 tenders be made public – is not just talk.
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) says where there’s evidence of impropriety – the money should be recovered – as the national fiscus is under pressure.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) wants the Auditor General’s intervention, by conducting special audits of COVID-19 related expenditure. The party says it supports the publication of all companies who won contracts for PPEs, however it must be inclusive of all government departments.
IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa says: “However this should form part of an integrated plan which is going to factor in all government departments procurement during this time. Solely focusing on the Department of Health would be in itself a half baked exercise moreover the law enforcement agencies need to move with the necessary speed in this regard. The IFP further implores the AG to performs special audits of COVID-19 related expenditure.”
NUMSA weighs in
Trade union, NUMSA, has described as disgusting and dismaying, allegations of corruption surrounding PPE tenders amounting to millions of rands.
The union has demanded that government consult trade unions, civil society and business when addressing allegations of corruption. It has warned that they will embark on strike action should the government fail to do so.
SA cases breach 500 000 mark
As the country surpassed the 500 000 mark in COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak, the office of the Presidency says additional facilities, equipment and personnel are being deployed in provinces still experiencing an increase in infections.
South Africa’s recovery rate stands at 68% and government says hospitals are prepared to manage a further influx of patients.
SA’s latest stats: