Thursday, 27 August 2020

Pretoria: Cabinet has reiterated its commitment to ensure that allegations of corruption relating to COVID-19 procurement are swiftly investigated by law enforcement agencies.

The commitment was confirmed by Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, during a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday.

“Those implicated will be severely punished, and money stolen from the State by unscrupulous companies and individuals by inflating the prices of personal protective equipment will be recovered,” said the Minister.

Mthembu said Cabinet is also pleased with the progress made by the Committee of Ministers, chaired by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.

The committee was appointed early this month to look into corruption in the procurement of goods and services sourced for the purpose of containing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministers of Justice and Correctional Services; Presidency; Finance; Police; Public Service and Administration, and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are part of the committee.

The team of Ministers is expected to coordinate the compilation of all the COVID-19 procurement and make it accessible to the public.

In the interest of transparency, Mthembu said, National Treasury on Wednesday published information from most of the departments and entities that have fully complied.

“National Treasury will continue with additional work to refine the submitted information for further processing. Cabinet reaffirms that law enforcement agencies will continue to be responsible for the investigative work,” said Mthembu.

The Fusion Centre, he said, which coordinates the work of all law enforcement agencies, remains on track to present its first six-weekly report (in the first week of September 2020) to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Cabinet will give the necessary support to all law enforcement agencies. This will include giving them the resources they need to function optimally, independently, without fear, favour and prejudice in facilitating the investigation and prosecution of corruption-related cases without any further delay,” said Mthembu.

“The scourge of corruption, which manifests itself in the blatant theft and looting of State resources, is the biggest societal cancer that has the potential to erode public trust in government’s concerted efforts to improve the lives of the people.”

Cabinet during its meeting – held on Wednesday – also condemned all alleged acts of corruption and is confident that all wrongdoers will eventually be prosecuted, without fear or favour.

Cabinet has also urged South Africans to report corruption to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701.