1 August 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on government to implement an urgent probe into allegations of corruption related to the procurement of personal protection equipment (PPE)s. FEDUSA’s call comes in the wake of widespread media reports that state funds earmarked for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, running into millions of Rands, are finding their way into the private accounts of politically connected individuals. These allegations are the high watermark of insensitivity towards thousands of compatriots who have succumbed to the deadly virus, thousands more who are fighting for their lives in COVID-19 field hospitals across the country and victims of Gender Based Violence induced by the national lockdown.
While National Treasury’s proposal to centralize the procurement of PPEs as a policy response to the alleged corruption in the system is welcomed in principle, it is not good enough because it means that those who have been implicated in the scandal will effectively get away with COVID-19 murder.
“”We propose that government should immediately cut-out intermediaries and allow institutions such as hospitals to procure PPEs and other health products directly from manufacturers on the basis of the standard operating procedure of reasonable price; and obtaining and comparing three quotations before buying,” said FEDUSA President Godfrey Selematsela. “It is our considered view that such a policy response will be effective in minimizing corruption”.
These scandalous acts of shame will not be tolerated by FEDUSA, as Government continues to pay lip service to these blatant acts of corruption that has tarnished the Rainbow Nation Brand of our beloved South Africa, and is received with mere taps on the wrist, whilst loyal frontline workers continue to bear the brunt of deficient stocks and placing their lives and that of their loved one in the firing line. It is shameful that corruptions continue unabated especially during the fight of this pandemic, whilst deserving public servants are denied their increments, albeit being heralded as heroes of the fight of this pandemic.
As government revenues are estimated to fall by as much as R304 billion due to COVID-19 restrictions that have been imposed on economic activity; and translating into a 15.7% drop in the Gross Domestic Product for 2020, up from the 6.8% forecast earlier this year in February, National Treasury can be expected to be pushed towards borrowing more and more from multi-lateral organizations to cover the shortfall, allegations of covidpreneurship in such a scenario – as they have become known – do not inspire confidence and the authorities need to act decisively to show that they are still in control; or even better, that they are not part of the alleged scandal.
FEDUSA will not stand back in the face of these despicable acts and watch further funds channeled to South Africa by international instruments end up in the pockets of already over – bloated fat cats. These brazen thieves will be named, shamed, and prosecuted as the culture of inconsequentiality must come to an end.
For interviews please contact:
Mr Godfrey Selematsela
083 653 3021/065 652 2832
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2626
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096