PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has announced 932 cases related to COVID-19 corruption were currently being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
He pointed out that 307 cases involving 139 companies have also been referred for possible tax evasion of just over R300 million.
Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Tuesday, Ramaphosa also brushed off rumours that there were plans to move the country back to Level 3 hard lockdown due to rising infections, including a proliferation of ‘Super-spreader’ events across the country.
He said he has received two interim reports from the SIU since issuing the proclamation in June, adding that they will eventually be made public once all necessary process have been concluded.
“COVID-19 related corruption has emboldened us, given us strength. It’s been a cathartic moment to reinforce our resolve to fight corruption,” said Ramaphosa.
“It was my honest wish and hope that there would be no corruption in the procurement of PPE.”
DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen said the ANC abused the state of disaster, under which normal oversight mechanisms and procurement regulations were suspended, to embark on a feeding frenzy of COVID-19 funds.
“We’ve heard that COVID looters include high-ranking ANC politicians such as Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku. And that Ace Magashule’s sons and Nomvula Mokonyane’s daughter scored COVID-related contracts,” said Steenhuisen.
“And we know this scandal reaches right into the President’s own office, with the husband of spokesperson, Khusela Diko, awarded R125 million of tenders. These were a pack of heartless hyenas feeding off a helpless, dying springbok. And this should outrage us all.”
Responding to a question about whether the rumours were true that another Level 3 lockdown was on the cards, Ramaphosa said this was not true.
“I don’t want to be alarmist. I don’t want our people to be alarmed with rumours, such as we are going to Level 3. That is simply not true. And I want to assure everyone that it is not true,” said Ramaphosa.
“I want to look at the report very closely, and also then have an opportunity in the coming days, possibly next week, to address the people of South Africa on what we need to do in light of what we are going through.”
Ramaphosa said he will look at a report from the medical advisory council closely and will in the coming days, possibly next week, be in a position to address the nation.
“I don’t want to be alarmist. I don’t want people to be alarmed.”
He said there were concerns that as the country moves toward the festive season, people will let their guard down.