Covid Corruption: Gauteng MEC leave of absence means nothing if corruption cannot be prevented

Please find attached a soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP, DA Shadow Minister of Health.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s announcement today that the MEC for Health in Gauteng, Bandile Masuku, will be taking leave of absence following damning allegations of tender irregularities and corruption in his department will not deter rampant corruption which has taken root not only in the Gauteng Provincial Government but across the country.

That is why I have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for the inclusion of all contracts, in his Special Investigative Unit (SIU) proclamation, that were awarded in Gauteng in relation to the Covid-19 response.

I have also called on the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to immediately make public the names of companies that have been awarded contracts; their board of directors; value of each contract; the service being provided and the status of these contracts.

This week, the Western Cape Government has taken the lead in this regard. It has published this information online in order for these contracts to be publicly scrutinized.

The 8 other provinces should follow this example.

This information pertains to the use of public money, it should therefore be easily accessed by the public.

South Africa is in the middle of a global health crisis. Daily, people are losing their lives and the number of cases are increasing exponentially, all the while the ANC presides over a government that allows for the looting and plundering of public money which is meant to provide equipment that will aid the fight against this pandemic.

Healthcare workers are forced to treat patients without protective gear or forced to endanger their lives by recycling PPE because politicians would much rather line their pockets than deliver services to the people of South Africa.

Placing implicated individuals on ‘leave of absence’ does not prevent corruption from taking place because there is not political will to root out this abhorrent culture. If the President is serious about fighting corruption, he needs to empower the SIU to review and investigate all contracts across the country. Those responsible must be removed from government and arrested.

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