The ANC Caucus deeply regrets that despite harsh warnings issued at the beginning of the Covid- 19 pandemic in March 2020 BY President Cyril Ramaphosa repeatedly for the need for anti- corruption and clean governance in the use of funds aimed at combating Covid – 19; these warnings have not been heeded.
Impunity seems to be order day when the rate of infections is rising and essential workers continue to experience shortages within hospitals regarding availability of personal protection gear.
The ANC Caucus finds this deplorable conduct unbecoming as indicated by various reports in the media detailing disturbing reports of a trail of alleged graft and corruption in various provinces especially over the past fortnight.
This impunity must stop. The brazen nature that has been characterized by massive irregularities and acts of misconduct continues to dent the name of the organization and makes mockery of all our commitments to fight corruption.
At the recent tabling of the first Debate on the Special Adjustment Appropriation Budget; Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni also alluded to these disturbing reports.
Subsequently on the 23rd July 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation authorizing the Special Investigative Unit to probe in any State institutions allegations of corruption during or related to Covid- 19 national disaster funds.
As the ANC Caucus we are deeply embarrassed by this barbaric behaviour and calls on the fast- tracking of all these Government led initiatives to investigate and bring perpetrations to book immediately. Law enforcement agencies must work around the clock to stem the tide of these criminality.
Corruption is inimical to development. It constrains the ability of the ANC
Government to fight poverty; especially during a ravaging pandemic such as Covid – 19 and negatively affects the economy and citizens.
Corruption damages the already weakened sense of trust and social compact between the Government and the people and must be uprooted.
It is in this context that the ANC Parliamentary Caucus fully supports and echoes the sentiments by President Cyril Ramaphosa from “From the Desk of the President” newsletter released today, 3 August 2020.
As Caucus, we refuse to allow public funds hard-earned by loyal taxpayers or donations by patriots within business; civil society and the international community to vanish down a black hole of corruption.
Like many South Africans, as ANC Members of Parliament we contributed to the coffers of the Solidarity Fund for the sole purpose of ensuring that the livelihoods of South Africans are taken care of during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Caucus finds it highly unacceptable that some of these funds have not reached their intended recipients and have not served their purpose thus leaving millions of our people in dire straits at a time when they are most vulnerable when a safety net has been created for them.
As the ANC Caucus, we agree that those involved in corruption and looting of public resources must face the full might of the law swiftly, without any fear or favour. We will closely monitor the developments of the cases under investigation and take decisive action against those involved in corruption and unsavoury conduct.
We further support that public servants and political office-bearers must avoid even the perception of conflicts of interest if we want to restore the trust of the public. For South Africa to be able to deal with the unemployment crisis, we must open up opportunities to ordinary South Africans who are interested in doing business with the government. Our country has a wide variety of young people who are entrepreneurs in different sectors that need all the support available to be able to grow their businesses, which in turn will strengthen our economy, decrease the rate of unemployment and help alleviate poverty.
As the ANC Caucus, we urge all public servants to desist from conduct that undermines the integrity of government and puts the African National Congress into disrepute. Our people entrusted us to represent and serve them, therefore, our actions must be based on the Batho Pele principles.
It is disheartening that many stories of corruption by people who are supposed to be leaders in society continue to emerge at a time where the government is working tirelessly to mobilise resources to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
We commend the decision of government to set up measures and regulations to safeguard funds that are meant to assist South Africans from the impact of Covid-19. Critical institutions such as NPA, SIU, Hawks, SARS and IPID have been rebuilt and established to strengthen law enforcement, investigate and prosecute those responsible for all crimes, especially those related to the looting of Covid-19 relief funds.
We are encouraged by the establishment of these institutions, hoping that those involved in corruption will be dealt with timeously and the funds recovered.
As Members of Parliament, we will continue to robustly play our oversight role to ensure accountability and compliance to the regulations set by the government for procurement processes, including any expenditure using state resources.
Info Issued and supplied by the Office of the Parliamentary Chief Whip, Hon. Pemmy Majodina