- Deputy President David Mabuza says corruption in the public and private sector will reverse the strides the country has made.
- Mabuza says institutions, like the National Prosecuting Authority, need to be supported to detect and prosecute those found guilty of corruption.
- The deputy president answered questions in the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.
Deputy President David Mabuza says the only way to boost the fight against corruption is to capacitate graft-busting institutions to "weather the storm" and protect the country's finances.
He was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, where he committed greater support for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and other law enforcement agencies.
"It is important that we support and capacitate them to deal with corruption. If you look at it, you will say its corruption only in government… I would say no.
"Those people in the government, they live within a society that means this [corruption] virus has also infected society. That means corruption is spreading," Mabuza said.
He added corruption was widespread and involved those in the public and private sector.
"Therefore, we need to step up our fight. It's quite clear that since the advent of democracy, we have seen the element of corruption growing. This probably presents an opportunity for us … to take time and strengthen these institutions to deal decisively with corruption. Corruption can destroy all the gains we have made as a country and nation," Mabuza said.
On Wednesday, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released damning findings on Covid-19 relief funding.
He presented details of corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Overpricing, unfair processes and potential fraud in government procurement, were just some of the irregularities Makwetu highlighted.
Last month, the government, however, gave the assurance that monies stolen from the state by unscrupulous companies and individuals by inflating the prices of PPE would be recovered.
Law enforcement agencies had dealt with a flood of Covid-19 PPE tender corruption, most notably in Gauteng, where several high-ranking ANC politicians and their family members scored big tenders.
Mabuza said it was unfortunate that some exploited the country's Covid-19 crisis.
"This is a very unfortunate situation that has occurred. As a country, we were all gearing our energies facing the Covid-19 pandemic storm. This storm has taken away lives. We have put everything we can to fight this, and in the process, money was misappropriated.
"The president has spoken about this and the real answer to this is that we must be agile and ready to face such situations wherever they occur. We need to build our institutions."
He added the government had not redirected resources away from programmes aimed at reducing HIV and TB infections.
"We are now going to pick up the work of the South African National Aids Council. As we are easing restrictions, we will try and get moving. We gave our attention to Covid-19 and in the process, we carried along with programmes that seeks to fight HIV, TB, malaria."