The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) says it’s in a process of finalising a National COVID-19 proclamation to investigate all transactions done with regards to the R500 billion Relief Fund.
This comes as the OR Tambo district municipality in the Eastern Cape launched an investigation into leaked invoices for a COVID-19 door-to-door awareness campaign totalling R4.8 million.
The Relief Funds were allocated by Government to ease the impact of the lockdown on the economy and the livelihood of citizens.
The Special Investigating Unit is in the final process of concluding the National COVID 19 proclamation. The proclamation will investigate alleged wrongdoings concerning the 500 billion rand relief fund and other misconduct.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the R500 billion COVID-19 relief fund, he assured the nation that government institutions would be held responsible for the expenditure of the fund.
“We will, therefore, act very strongly against any attempts at corruption and at profiteering from this crisis. I’ve directed that special units of the national prosecuting agency be put together to act immediately and arrest those against who we find evidence of corruption. We will work with the judiciary to expedite cases against implicated persons and make sure that the guilty do go to jail,” says Ramaphosa.
In this video below Ramaphosa announces the relief fund:
Three months later, corrupt activities in food parcels, musk manufacturing and the latest, door-to-door awareness campaign are reported.
Special Investigation Unit confirmed that since the lockdown, they have investigated several corruption cases, relating to the Solidarity Fund.
The Unit spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago said they have now decided to consolidate all corruption complaints relating to the fund to make a National COVID-19 proclamation.
“We have then since decided that we are going to do one proclamation what we call the National COVID-19 proclamation that will then look at each and every transaction that was done as it is forwarded to us, but what we have done as I say is to make sure that we finalise this, so the President must sign a national one so that we don’t have to do each and every municipality and government department and SOE individually,” explains Kganyago.
Last week, leaked documents surfaced on social media, showing invoices from a company called Phathilizwi Training Institution to the OR Tambo district municipality for a total amount of R4.8 million.
The company had been contracted to conduct a community outreach campaign, teaching people about COVID-19.
Allegations of corruption erupt at OR Tambo district municipality:
However, it is reported that the people appearing on the worker’s forms say they were not visited. The municipal manager, Owen Hlazo says he was suspended for refusing to sign off on the invoices.
“I said post the COVID-19 there will be audits that will be done by the AG, by all these other agencies, I was trying to make her aware and also to involve her because there are circulars that we have that are also telling us so I did not sign that invoice and will not sign it,” explains Hlazo.
The Municipal Council speaker, Xolile Nkompela says they are investigating.
“It’s +/- R168 million that we’re busy dealing with and the matter has already been reported to the police and the Hawks. I’m told that they were in our institution doing their work and we really appreciate their quick response and the council its self is not going to sit and it’s going to accelerate this process of rooting out corruption,” says Nkompela.
‘Proper action be taken’
African National Congress (ANC) National spokesperson Pule Mabe says if the documents doing the rounds on social media have been verified, then proper action should be taken.
“It is not easy to comment or give validity to things you see on social media without necessary hearing from the institutions concerned. It is very important that you yourselves from the media verify the validity of such information with relevant institutions and if those things are valid to establish from them the kind of action that are being undertaken because we need to show the people of South Africa that we are prudent, we are acting with greater responsibility,” says Mabe.