'Corruption pandemic worse than Covid-19 pandemic' - FF Plus leader

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 FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.  (Lulama Zenzile)
FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald. (Lulama Zenzile)
  • Opposition speakers railed against corruption in the debate on Cyril Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan.
  • Several opposition leaders said the government is good at making plans, but not at implementation.
  • ANC MP Judith Tshabalala said the country must unite against corruption, which is a legacy of apartheid.

Corruption is even worse than the Covid-19 pandemic, FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said during Wednesday's debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan.

Ramaphosa announced the plan in the aftermath of the pandemic's economic devastation.

Several opposition speakers said the government is good with making plans, but fails to implement it.

In the estimation of DA interim leader John Steenhuisen, "systemic corruption" is one of the reasons for this.

Some opposition speakers pointed to the Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) presentation to Parliament the previous day, which stated that two thirds of contracts for Covid-19 related procurement were under investigation.

Groenewald said he doesn't think there is any level or sphere of government untainted by corruption.

"The corruption pandemic is even worse than the Covid-19 pandemic," Groenewald said.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said the government is very good with new ideas on paper, but weak on implementation.

"I wonder whether corruption, which is endemic in our country, will derail the plan," mused Meshoe.

He said all the "fake millionaires" must pay back their "ill-gotten gains".

He mentioned that Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, is also alleged to be involved.

He suggested tender systems must be looked at.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said it is "immoral that this money is used to make instant millionaires".

He also said it is unacceptable that the Public Investment Corporation continues investing pension money, while those investments don't bring much-needed economic development and job creation.

'Corruption must unite the country'

EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu said Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan will only "serve a neo-colonial agenda".

Responding to Steenhuisen, ANC MP Judith Tshabalala said the DA interim leader cried about corruption, but maybe he should look at the DA-governed Western Cape's procurement.

"Corruption must unite the country," she said, adding that it doesn't only occur in the public sector.

She said it is a "system inherited from apartheid", which the ANC is "morally bound to eradicate".

Members of the government speaking during the debate were mum on corruption. This included David Makhura, the premier of Gauteng – ground zero for PPE-procurement corruption – and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, whose department is responsible for the Beitbridge fence fiasco.

In his response to the debate, Ramaphosa also didn't broach the subject, even though he spoke at length about it during his initial address to the joint sitting last week.

He said at the time that he will not interfere in the work of the National Prosecuting Authority, in what appeared to be a counter to the narrative created by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his supporters that his widely-expected prosecution will be politically motivated.

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