ANC caucus calls for tough action amidst Covid-19 corruption claims
Port Elizabeth - The ANC caucus in a statement on Monday has condemned the allegations of corruption despite the harsh warnings President Cyril Ramaphosa repeatedly issued at the beginning of the Covid- 19 pandemic on the importance of clean governance in the use of funds for combating the disease.
"Impunity seems to be the order of the 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," the statement said.
It acknowledged the concerns of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on these "disturbing reports" and welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's authorisation to the Special Investigative Unit to investigate allegations of corruption in any state department 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.
Showing support for Ramaphosa, the caucus says it will "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.
"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," it said.
"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.
"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."
African News Agency/ANA