President Cyril Ramaphosa said he does not want to have to establish a Covid-19 commission of inquiry into the misuse of funds allocated to fighting the pandemic once the crisis is over.
Instead, the president said government wants to be proactive in ensuring money allocated to help SA’s most vulnerable does not end up in the pockets of those in office.
“I do not want to hear about a commission request after the Covid package. I don’t want to hear of a Covid commission, and therefore we want to take proactive steps,” Ramaphosa told reporters in Johannesburg on Friday.
Ramaphosa said his government is going to keep a hawk’s eye on how money allocated to government’s response to the coronavirus crisis will be spent.
“I spoke to the auditor-general yesterday and I said, ‘auditor-general we need to put in place systems on a proactive basis so money does not end up in people’s pockets’,” he said.
Ramaphosa said they want to stamp out any unscrupulous actions by councillors and politicians from the onset.
“Like for instance, food resources and food parcels. We abhor the fact that there have been stories and allegations that some of this has ended up in people’s pockets and councillors have been abusing this,” he said.
Media reports have included incidents of councillors usurping food parcels meant for hungry South Africans. There is also a concern about how the state of national disaster may enable corruption in government procurement processes.
“We are taking proactive steps to ensure it does not happen,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also indicated that his conversation with US President Donald Trump was initiated by Trump.
“He said he was most impressed by the reports he has heard about the way we are managing the issue of Covid-19,” Ramaphosa said.
He said on Friday he also had a conversation with German chancellor Angela Merkel, who said they are willing to learn from SA.
“As the World Health Organisation has said, they see South Africa being ahead of the curve in a number of areas in the way we handling the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ramaphosa said.