DA wants answers on Covid-19 tenders amid widespread corruption

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DA spokesperson on health Siviwe Gwarube.
DA spokesperson on health Siviwe Gwarube.
Jan Gerber, News24
  • The DA wants Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to disclose the names of companies that were awarded Covid-19 tenders.
  • The party will submit parliamentary questions requesting the information "as a matter of urgency".
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a Special Investigating Unit proclamation to investigate "Covid-19 corruption" last Thursday.

The DA has challenged Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to reveal all the companies and their boards of directors that have been awarded Covid-19 contracts by health authorities across the country.

This follows reports of dubious personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts which have been awarded to some "politically connected" companies and individuals by the Gauteng Department of Health.

DA MP Siviwe Gwarube said Mkhize was on the record, committing to fight corruption in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ | Covid-19: SA's recovery rate improves to 62.5% as total cases creep toward 500 000

"The minister is empowered to demand that these details are publicised by the provinces. It is important that any contract that has been awarded by the provincial departments is made public and the following information is easily accessible: company name; history of work done with the state or any other entity in the field; board of directors and the status of the contract," Gwarube said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko has taken a leave of absence after allegations surfaced her husband's company was awarded a Gauteng health department contract for PPE.

According to the Sunday Independent, a R125 million PPE contract was awarded to AmaBhaca King Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko - Khusela's husband. 

Diko's relationship with Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife Loyiso was also put under the spotlight.

During his address to the nation last Thursday, Ramaphosa announced a Special investigating Unit (SIU) proclamation to investigate "Covid-19 corruption".

READ ALSO | 167 companies got tenders for Covid-19 work, R159m the highest amount paid - Gauteng health dept

Gwarube said the DA would write to Mkhize and submit parliamentary questions requesting this information as a matter of urgency.

"Once this information is made public, we will do our due diligence to ensure that politically connected individuals have not been the chief beneficiaries of these contracts and that, in fact, these services are being provided in the provinces. In addition, this is the kind of information that the Special Investigating Unit should be considering in looking into corruption relating to all Covid-19 funds as per the president's proclamation," she said.

Gwarube said the DA would not allow "the systemic looting" of public money in the middle of the pandemic to go unchallenged.

"We also cannot wait until crucial resources are squandered before action is taken. Retrospective investigations do little to provide the people of South Africa with the relief they require. Corruption is not a victimless crime. Money stolen takes away from services designed for the benefit of the public," she said.

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