Ramaphosa must account in Parliament for the ANC’s Covid-19 'feeding frenzy' - DA
CAPE TOWN - The official opposition Democratic Alliance has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately account in Parliament for the ANC’s coronavirus (Covid-19) "feeding frenzy".
"Even though it was entirely predictable, the feeding frenzy over Covid-19-related tenders among ANC-connected individuals is a filthy stain on our country in this time of crisis," DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement on Saturday.
He would ask National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise for a snap debate on the matter, in which Ramaphosa himself would have to answer for the behaviour of his party’s members and set out exactly how he intended to act against each and every implicated individual, he said.
This would not only be the right thing to do, but also because he promised the nation four months ago that any such corruption would be met with strong action. On March 23, Ramaphosa went on national television and solemnly vowed to South Africans that profiteering from the Covid-19 pandemic would not be tolerated, and that anyone who did so would face serious consequences.
In his televised address he said: “I want to make it clear that we expect all South Africans to act in the interest of the South African nation and not in their own selfish interests. We will therefore act very strongly against any attempts at corruption and profiteering from this crisis. I have directed that special units of the National Prosecuting Authority be put together to act immediately and arrest those against who we find evidence of corruption. We will work with the judiciary to expedite cases against implicated persons and make sure the guilty go to jail.”
But despite this grand rhetoric, recent news reports had been awash with family members of the highest-ranking ANC politicians creaming profits off Covid-19 tenders. At the rate at which these stories were breaking, it was possible that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
However, what was known so far was:
Ramaphosa’s son Andile Ramaphosa landed a R6 million contract to modify taxis in Gauteng to comply with Covid-19 regulations;
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko’s husband Thandisizwe Diko landed a R125 million contract to supply personal protective equipment (PPE);
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s sons Tshepiso Magashule and Thato Magashule landed Covid-19 procurement contracts in the Free State to the value of R2.7 million; and
Former cabinet minister Nomvula Mokonyane's daughter Katleho Mokonyane landed a R3 million PPE contract despite her company only being six months old at the time.
"If this is what we know of the involvement of the families of high-profile ANC members, one can only imagine what the picture looks like further down the line in ANC-run provinces and municipalities where tender corruption has become the very reason to run for public office. They now desperately try to cleanse the party’s image through Twitter hashtags, but these are stains that cannot be scrubbed clean," Steenhuisen said.
"The ANC has shown, again and again, that it simply cannot help itself. Where there is government-controlled money you will find cadres elbowing each other out of the way to grab what they can. And so the lure of billions or rand of emergency Covid-19 spending was always going to be too hard to resist, despite the president’s solemn promises in March. The rest of the world has to deal only with the coronavirus pandemic, but South Africa has to simultaneously deal with its very own epidemic of ANC corruption. This kind of corruption is baked into the ANC’s DNA. Access to tenders and subsequent price gouging are regarded as their deserved spoils of war."
In the DA-run Western Cape, all Covid-19 procurement was now published online in a monthly report to ensure 100 percent transparency. South Africa would not make progress as long as the rot of ANC corruption continued to infect every aspect of government and service delivery.
"We will not make progress as long as we have a president who can only talk, but is incapable of any meaningful action. However, he now has an opportunity to prove me wrong. I look forward to the president’s honest account in Parliament of his party’s looting, and his detailed plan of action to deal with all those involved," Steenhuisen said.
- African News Agency (ANA)