Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Pretoria: Government has explained that the work of the ministers appointed by Cabinet to a ministerial task team, does not have a responsibility to investigate COVID-19 related contracts.

“The task of the ministerial committee is to compile and publish details of all COVID-19 related contracts awarded by all state entities. Contrary to some reports, the ministerial team does not have a responsibility to investigate COVID-19 related contracts. This remains the task of the relevant law enforcement agencies,” Cabinet spokesperson, Phumla Williams said in statement.

The Presidency said the team of ministers is expected to compile a comprehensive report of the details of all tenders and contracts awarded by national departments, provincial governments and other public entities as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the interests of transparency, these details will then be made public,” Williams said.

The team includes Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, who was appointed as convenor of the team, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

Williams said the duration of the ministerial team will be for the period required to complete the work.

She noted that the compilation and publication of this information is aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability of government entities in the light of allegations of COVID-19 related corruption.

“The work of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which has been authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of goods and services during the national state of disaster in any state of institution, is continuing.

“This is taking place alongside the work of the recently established special coordination centre, to strengthen the collective efforts among law-enforcement agencies to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute COVID-related corruption. This is in addition to the steps taken by National Treasury to tighten procurement regulations and the ongoing work of the Auditor-General to audit all COVID-19 expenditure,” Williams explained.

Government maintained that the compilation and publication of this information is necessary to promote greater accountability and transparency, and believes that it establishes an important precedent for future expenditure of this nature.

“Government is firmly committed to eradicating all forms of corruption and ensuring that all those responsible for such criminal conduct, regardless of who they are, face the full might of the law.” Williams said.