Our doors are 'wide open' for probe into any misuse of Covid-19 funds - Lindiwe Zulu

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
GCIS
  • Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says authorities are welcome to investigate any allegations of corruption in her department.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the Special Investigating Unit will be investigating any allegations of corruption during the lockdown.
  • Zulu has told Parliament she is determined to tackle corruption in her department.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has said her department’s doors are "wide open" for authorities to investigate allegations of corruption in the distribution of food parcels and social relief grants.

This followed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s televised announcement on Thursday night that he had signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate any form of corruption during or related to the national state of disaster in any government institution.

Zulu delivered her adjusted budget speech during a mini-plenary in the National Assembly on Friday.

She also came to the defence of Ramaphosa after FF Plus MP Corné Mulder asked her why the president had spoken of corruption to the nation and not ANC members.

READ | EXPLAINER | From schools to corruption: 10 things you need to know about Ramaphosa's address

"Let's deal with corruption. Whether it is in the ANC, it shall be dealt with. It is a two-way street and that is why the president addressed the nation on this matter." said Zulu.

She said she would welcome an investigation into the procurement and alleged overpricing of personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

"I am determined now more than ever to assist the authorised institutions to thoroughly, and without impediments, investigate all and every wrongdoing. Those who should face the full wrath of the law, should do so." 

Options

Government is considering several options for a basic income grant, Zulu told MPs.

"We consider multiple ways to extend the social protection coverage to those aged 18 to 59 years in the period beyond October 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic is bringing back the discussion about the basic income grant.

"The lack of social protection coverage for this group calls for an acceleration of efforts to put in place an inclusive and responsive social security system that we envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP). Discussions are currently in the early stages," she said.

READ ALSO | SA faced with double storm of Covid-19 and hunger, warns Zulu

The department had a budget reduction of R15.48 billion, from an initial R197.72 billion, to R182.24 billion.

"As part of the supplementary budget, we received an additional R25.5 billion, which was supplemented by R15.48 billion from the reduced baseline. This brought the total budget allocation for Covid-19 response to R40 billion," she said.

The annual budget was readjusted upwards to R223 billion.

Zulu said the Covid-19 battle demanded a constant and honest evaluation of government’s efforts.

"Most of the old responses are simply not effective in meeting our people’s aspirations in the face of the challenges that accompany the pandemic. Therefore, today’s 'normal' demands that we must let go of yesteryear’s responses.

"The department provides social protection services and leads the government’s efforts to build partnerships through which vulnerable groups and communities become capable and active participants of their own development." 

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