Ramaphosa ‘careful’ with Covid-19 graft report due to ANC politics – analyst

Picture for illustration purposes. A worker produces face masks at a factory. (Photo by LUIS TATO / AFP)

‘While trying to come out as someone who is anti-corruption, the party internally is not so much aligned to his stance.’

While President Cyril Ramaphosa has been slated for not making public the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) interim report into widespread Covid-19 tender corruption, a leading political analyst yesterday said Ramaphosa has been treading carefully as some comrades within the ruling ANC might be implicated.

The latest figure of companies being investigated on the Covid-19 graft stood at 700, amounting to a staggering R7.5 billion, according to the SIU, which confirmed handing over the interim report to Ramaphosa on 2 September.

Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the pace of Ramaphosa’s action on the report should be viewed against the political atmosphere within the ANC.

“The president is having a serious challenge.

“While trying to come out as someone who is anti-corruption, the party internally is not so much aligned to his stance.

“He is aware he cannot just release it immediately without being called to do so, because it will directly implicate his comrades in the party, causing ructions – just like the VBS Mutual bank scandal,” said Mathekga.

“All these problems are gearing the party to a very nasty succession leadership battle and the upcoming ANC NGC (national
general council) is going to be quite tough, difficult and very tense, with a lot of things that were bottled, coming out.

“The president’s anti-corruption stance seen in state institutions, will certainly come under heavy criticism at the NGC.

“Some are already saying he is using state institutions for political machination.”

Congress of the People (Cope) spokesperson Dennis Bloem has been among those calling on Ramaphosa to publicly release the SIU report, slamming him for “sitting on it – something extremely disturbing”.

“Is the report so explosive and damaging to the ANC, that he wants to water it down? Is there anything that the president
wants to cover-up? We are smelling something fishy,” he said.

“Everybody, except the ANC, are sick and tired of corruption and want to see the heartless thieves who stole Covid-19 PPE
funds go to jail.

“Poverty has reached crisis proportions and the country is sitting on a time bomb that will explode very soon,” said Bloem.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the unit’s investigations and reports followed a proclamation by the president.

“He is the custodian of the reports, with the next one due around 15 October.

“He made mention of these reports during his last speech, when moving the country to alert Level 1. The onus to make the reports public, is on him.

“We produce outcomes, based on evidence. We do not act on hearsay, because if we do that, we may end up with a petition –
people saying we don’t like you investigating,” Kganyago said.

“In some cases, allegations are not genuine and we ask for a proclamation.

“But what we have to make clear is that the latest figures we have given do not all amount to irregularity on the part of some companies who don’t have issues. The R7.5 billion refers to the amount of the contract.”

– brians@citizen.co.za

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