by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has warned his South African government would deal decisively with individuals involved in corruption during the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
His threat, carried in a weekly letter on Monday, comes after a damning report released last week by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into procurement during the coronavirus state of disaster.
He said this made for “disturbing reading.”
“At the same time, it provides encouragement that unlawful deeds are being uncovered and action is being taken against those who are responsible,” Ramaphosa stated.
The president said all involved in wrongdoing would be dealt with “harshly and appropriately.”
“They will not get to enjoy their ill-gotten gains, as steps have been taken to recover stolen money, including the freezing of bank accounts.”
Ramaphosa disclosed that a number of civil litigation cases had been instituted and specific cases referred to for prosecution.
“Contracts found to be unlawful have been cancelled,” the president said.
Government entities have been directed not to make payments to the service providers pending the outcome of investigations and/or civil proceedings.
There have been referrals for disciplinary action against implicated officials.
“This is a practical demonstration of our determination to deal decisively and swiftly with corruption,” Ramaphosa assured.
He said similar action was being taken against individuals and companies implicated in maladministration and fraud around the COVID-19 Temporary Employment Relief Scheme.
This includes employers who pocketed the benefits owed to their staff, or hid TERS funds paid to them by mistake.
“A number of hard lessons have been learned in this entire process,” said Ramaphosa.
South Africa is dealing with the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in the continent.
Some 1,48 million cases have been recorded, including 46 290 deaths.
– CAJ News