The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating R5 billion worth of contracts allegedly improperly awarded to various companies in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).
This was revealed by Deputy President David Mabuza during his Thursday response to oral questions in the National Assembly.
Mabuza said President Cyril Ramaphosa had ordered the SIU to investigate corruption in Covid-19 spending, “including allegations of impropriety in the awarding of tenders”.
The SIU was probing contracts awarded by the national government, provincial departments and municipalities for PPE procurement, Mabuza said.
In recent months more allegations of Covid-19 related corruption have been referred to the South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies for investigation, Mabuza added.
The deputy president further said that a fusion centre made up of a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement agencies had been established to investigate Covid-19-related corruption.
The government would continue to support law enforcement agencies in their efforts to investigate corruption, support which includes availing the required resources for those agencies to carry out their tasks effectively, Mabuza said.
“In the same breath we will give them the space to function independently without fear, favour or prejudice,” Mabuza said.
The government was encouraged by the “considerable progress” made in the investigations, the deputy president added.
Mabuza said Covid-19-related corrupt activities highlight the extent to which the country’s moral fibre “has been compromised in pursuit of self-enrichment at the expense of the plight of our people”.
“Such activities not only undermine people’s trust in the government but also undermine our efforts to attract investments we need to grow the economy,” Mabuza said.
There was a need to solidify society’s ethical foundation and to ensure that public resources were used responsibly in a manner that benefits South Africans, Mabuza said.
The deputy president said the government would enhance systems of internal control to ensure openness, transparency and accountability, and to protect the integrity of the country’s procurement systems.
Mabuza said those involved in Covid-19 corruption must be held accountable, adding that the ANC government was fully committed to eliminating corruption “in all its forms and manifestation”.
The session continues, watch live courtesy of the SABC: