Government explains role of Cabinet Covid-19 tender committee amid cynicism

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Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams (supplied, GCIS)
Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams (supplied, GCIS)
  • The ministerial task team will not be investigating Covid-19-related contracts.
  • They will only compile and publish details of all Covid-19-related contracts awarded by state entities.
  • This was said in a statement about their role after the appointment of the committee of government ministers was met with cynicism. 

The ministers appointed by the Cabinet to a ministerial task team will only compile and publish details of all Covid-19-related contracts, and will not be investigating them, the government said in a statement about the committee's role.

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"Government wishes to clarify the role of the ministerial team established by Cabinet at its meeting of 5 August 2020," Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said on Sunday.

"The task of the ministerial committee is to compile and publish details of all Covid-related contracts awarded by all state entities," she said.

"Contrary to some reports, the ministerial team does not have a responsibility to investigate Covid-related contracts. This remains the task of the relevant law enforcement agencies."

This was after Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola was appointed as convenor of the team which would work with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

This came amid allegations of corruption regarding spending on measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The announcement of the team was met with scepticism.

Williams said the team was expected to compile a comprehensive report of the details of all tenders and contracts awarded by national departments, provincial governments and other public entities as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.


"In the interests of transparency, these details will then be made public," she said.

The work of the Special Investigating Unit, which President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of goods and services during the national state of disaster, was continuing.

This was taking place alongside the work of the recently established special coordination centre to investigate and prevent Covid-19-related corruption.

She said National Treasury had tightened procurement regulations and the Auditor-General was working on auditing Covid-19 expenditure.

Williams said government was committed to eradicating corruption and ensuring that all those responsible would face the full might of the law, regardless of who they were.

- Compiled by Jenni Evans

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