Cabinet says no one is 'above the law' as Covid-19 fund looters are arrested

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Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.
  • Cabinet supports all efforts to recover public funds from those who have engaged in fraudulent activities.
  • Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the arrests of implicated people so that no one is above the law.
  • Mthembu has called on the public to report all criminal activities to law enforcement agencies.

The recent arrests of those allegedly involved in corruption and the looting of Covid-19 social relief funds are a testament that no one is above the law.

This is according to a statement on Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, delivered at a briefing by Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu on Thursday.

"[It also] demonstrates government's commitment to hold to account those who continue to break the law by robbing poor South Africans of much-needed government assistance and aid.

READ | SIU probes 10 dodgy Eastern Cape tenders

Mthembu said the cases included those related to the looting of Covid-19 social relief funds.

"[It also includes] the fraudulent procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment, the scandal related to the asbestos housing project and [the] failure to report or underreporting to the South African Revenue Service. Cabinet fully appreciates and supports all endeavours to recover public funds from all those who have engaged in these fraudulent activities," he said.

Businessmen and ANC benefactor Edwin Sodi, alleged to have been the mastermind of the asbestos project which raked in R255 million in contracts in the Free State, was part of a group of 16 people arrested on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

The Hawks have swooped in on several others accused of tender fraud and the looting of Covid-19 funds.

Mthembu also touched on the recent spate of attacks and murders on farms.

He said Cabinet fully supported the work of the police in arresting those who commit heinous crimes.

He added:

The farming community is an integral part of our economy, and crime on farms poses a threat, not only to the personal safety of farmers and farmworkers but also to the country’s food security. Government is fast-tracking the implementation of the revised rural safety strategy to respond to the security needs of rural communities and support socioeconomic development.

Last week, chaos erupted in the Free State town of Senekal following the appearance of Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa for the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner. Horner's body was found on a farm in Paul Roux on 2 October.

Cabinet also deliberated on the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide and the abuse of children.

Mthembu described the recent case of two eight-year-old girls (twins) from Mpumalanga, who were allegedly abused by their father, as deeply disturbing.

"One of the girls reported the incidence to her school teacher and we must commend the response by the school that led to the arrest of the suspect. As a law-abiding and peace-loving nation, we should all unite in condemning such heinous crimes with the utmost contempt they deserve," Mthembu said.

READ ALSO | Covid-19 PPE money stolen from the state will be recovered - Jackson Mthembu

A man accused of the rape of his daughters is a former MEC in Mpumalanga. The ANC in Mpumalanga has suspended the member from its provincial executive committee (PEC).

Meanwhile, several board appointments were also made at, among others, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, the State Diamond Trader and the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator.

Most notably, former ANC MP  Leonard Ramatlakane has been appointed as the Prasa board chairperson. Ramatlakane is also a former Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC.

Livhuwani Tommy Makhode has been appointed director-general of the Department of Home Affairs.

Pieter Uys Pretorius was appointed as the deputy director-general (DDG) for corporate services at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Nonhlanhla Mkhize is the new DDG for environmental programmes at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

Advocate Martin Mafojane has been appointed as the Chief Master at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Nakampe Mogale is the new DDG for corporate management services at the Office of the Chief Justice.

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