Covid-19 corruption ‘tsotsis’ must be dealt with says Mboweni as SIU about to pounce

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni briefing media on the announced economic support package | Image: Twitter/ @treasuryRSA

The proclamation should be submitted to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola next week, says the SIU.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says the proclamation to authorise an investigation into allegations of irregularities and corruption in Covid-19 relief funds is at an advanced stage.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said it was being processed with urgency and should be submitted to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola next week.

He added that the SIU was working with the Department of Justice to ensure “the proclamation is comprehensive and in alignment with the law when it reaches the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and ultimately the President of the Republic of South Africa”.

Once the proclamation has been delivered to Lamola, he will then consider it and advise the president.

“We will keep the public updated about the developments in relation to this process. We would also request the public to be vigilant and report any corruption that they might be witnessing in their localities.

“It is only when we work together that we can win this battle against corruption,” Kganyago said.

This comes amid calls by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for Covid-19 relief fund thieves to be dealt with.

He was quoted saying by EWN: “As Minister of Finance, I am very concerned, that no sooner had we made budget allocations towards the Covid-19 interventions than tsotsis started to plan to steal. That is a very serious problem that we have to deal with and deal with decisively, to make sure that the funds allocated reach their intended purpose.”

Also read: OR Tambo municipality probes R4.8m Covid-19 door-to-door campaign

Meanwhile, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe alleged corruption worth R4.8 million in the OR Tambo District Municipality.

The allegations relate to a company that allegedly invoiced the district municipality R4.8 million for a four-day door-to-door Covid-19 awareness campaign.

Photographs of the invoice, and two Hawks hatchback cars parked outside the municipality’s offices, surfaced on social media at the weekend.

Concluding his weekly Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday, Mabuyane said: “Let me close with these two matters of critical importance. The first one is the alleged corruption that has raised its ugly head again in one of our municipalities, the OR Tambo District Municipality, in the form of a very suspicious so-called door-to-door campaign, which cost R4.8m.

“We were not surprised at all when it happened because we knew there will be chance takers, who would use this pandemic to get rich quick. Hence, from the onset, our Provincial Command Council Meeting directed all accounting officers to be on high alert during this time and pay particular attention to procurement related matters,” said Mabuyane.

“I have written to the president asking for the Special Investigating Unit to investigate the allegations that have surfaced in the OR Tambo municipality, which include alleged payment of money to service providers that have not done any work,” Mabuyane added.

“I am happy that the Hawks are on the ground, looking into this matter. The MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs is also looking into this matter. We applaud the patriotic action of the whistleblower, who lifted the lid on that transaction and alerted law enforcement authorities.

“The investigation by the Hawks will reinforce the confidence of our people in the rule of law. We yearn for convictions in this case, so that even those who are thinking of doing similar crimes elsewhere can know that there is [a] price to pay for crime, and that is a long jail time,” said Mabuyane.

Questions sent to the district council’s speaker, Xolile Nkompela, and the municipal spokesperson, Zimkhitha Macingwana, were not answered by the time of publication. The response will be added once received.

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