CAPE TOWN- Corruption during a national disaster is a heinous type of crime, and p
erpetrators who profit from the pandemic that is claiming the lives of hundreds of South Africans daily are going to be dealt with decisively and harshly said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.
In the President’s weekly newsletter he addressed the need to investigate several alleged corruption cases in the country.
"It is difficult to understand the utter lack of conscience that leads a businessperson who has heeded the call to provide lifesaving supplies during a devastating pandemic to inflate the price of a surgical mask by as much as 900 percent. Nor can one explain why a councillor would stockpile emergency food parcels meant for the poor for their own family, or why another councillor would divert water tankers en route to a needy community to their own home," said Ramaphosa.
Last month President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of goods and services during the national state of disaster.
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"As we find ourselves in the grip of the greatest health emergency our country has faced in over a century, we are witnessing theft by individuals and companies with no conscience. We hear stories of alleged corruption in the procurement and deployment of personal protective equipment to fight Covid-19, of companies hiking the prices of essential items during the lockdown and of the illegal diversion of state resources meant for the vulnerable and destitute," he said.
Ramaphosa said with vital institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority, SA Revenue Service, and the Hawks, the government has strengthened the hand of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these crimes. Through the establishment of the SIU Special Tribunal, the President said they have increased their capacity to get back funds stolen from the state.
"We will not allow public funds hard-earned by loyal taxpayers or donations by patriotic companies and individuals and the international community to vanish down a black hole of corruption. Those found to have broken the law to enrich themselves through this crisis will not get to enjoy their spoils, regardless of who they are or with whom they may be connected," Ramaphosa concluded.
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