President Cyril Ramaphosa believes that publishing the list of all Covid-19 related government expenditure is a demonstration of his government’s commitment to transparency.
The ANC-led government has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks after revelations of alleged corruption in the awarding of Covid-19 tenders. A number of provincial governments have been caught on the wrong side of the Covid-19 procurement. This includes the likes of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Ramaphosa’s own spokesperson Khusela Diko has become a face of the alleged Covid-19 corruption after Royal Bhaca, a company owned by her husband Thandisizwe Diko, was exposed as one of those who seemingly scored from Gauteng health department contracts.
The scandal led to Diko and health MEC Bandile Masuku, who are known friends, both taking a leave of absence while the matter is probed.
Speaking about the release of the companies’ names, Ramaphosa said: “This measure is unprecedented, and a clear demonstration of government’s commitment to transparency and accountability when it comes to allegations of corruption in the Covid-19 procurement process.”
In a statement on Wednesday, acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said Ramaphosa’s comments came after the office of the chief procurement officer published a full list of all companies that had been awarded contracts by the government.
The list is for all procurement related to Covid-19, including from provinces and parastatals.
Publishing the list came after public uproar directed at the ANC over alleged looting of Covid-19 funds. In response, Ramaphosa had established a much-criticised interministerial team, led by justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola.
His directive came after a tense ANC meeting which discussed corruption.
The meeting, among other resolutions, instructed the party leaders to compile a list of its members implicated in corruption or who are facing charges. The party is due to discuss the matter further this weekend.
Ramaphosa said in a statement that collaboration between departments on the matter of the Covid-19 tenders was a clear indication that his government would intensify efforts to act against any individuals or companies involved in corruption and profiteering around the coronavirus pandemic.
“By publishing these lists we have honoured our promise to the South African people. They enable proper scrutiny of the details of all companies who have received tenders for Covid-19 related services,” he said.