The Congress of South African Trade Union has noted with alarm the catalogue of corruption scandals that have engulfed municipalities, government departments and State-Owned- Entities recently. There are allegations of politicians and their families involved in PPE tender allegations and also stories of connected individuals that were illegitimately awarded contracts with SOEs.
This is a reminder that corruption remains the single biggest threat to the survival of this country and its economy. The cancer of corruption has not only plunged this country into darkness, literally, but has led to the collapse of the economy and left millions of people living lives of brute survival.
Recent cases of corruption allegations help to exemplify the prevalence of corruption at the highest levels of government, and the close ties between the business and political elites.
While the hydra of corruption predates President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, the dysfunction, and feebleness of his administration in the face of this crisis is alarming.
We want to remind him that he made a solid commitment to the nation that he was going to champion the fight against corruption in the build-up to Nasrec. He promised to do away with the impunity that was prevalent in the previous administration. We demand more action from the President and fewer banalities and clichés.
Corruption in South Africa is multifaceted and widespread, constituting the most concerning problem for the majority of citizens. There is widespread embezzlement, patronage, and nepotism. The impunity enjoyed by the political connected in this country has led to feelings of hopelessness, anger, abandonment, and incredulity from the public.
The story about the cancellation of a questionable R100 million contract that was awarded to former Eskom Chairperson Jabu Mabuza’s niece Nomvula Mabuza lands straight at the door of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Pravin Gordhan.
They have to shoulder the responsibility for the sins of former Eskom Jabu Mabuza.They individually lobbied for him to take over the position at Eskom. They argued that his appointment was not just about saving the power utility but also the economy.
The Federation objected to his initial appointment because of his record of gutting Telkom and the havoc he wreaked on workers in the name of profits.
The government did not just go ahead and appoint Jabu Mabuza at Eskom, but Minister Pravin Gordhan went further and illegitimately appointed him as both the CEO and a Board Chairperson. In dealing with the shenanigans by Jabu Mabuza, we need to also hold his enablers accountable.
The Federation reiterates its call for a comprehensive public forensic audit at Eskom to look into the deals and financial transactions that have left the power utility teetering on the brink of collapse. It is not only contracts that were signed under the calamitous tenure of Jabu Mabuza that needs to be scrutinised but under previous regimes too. Lack of accountability is at the heart of Eskom’s problems.
The corruption around PPE’s has left many workers facing a deadly virus without the necessary protection and some have even lost their lives. The situation is so serious and dangerous that some within the ANC are alleged to be colluding with the EFF in some municipalities to loot the PPE funds.
We are fully supportive of our affiliate NEHAWU’s pushback against the department of health’s failure to supply workers with adequate PPE and give them the necessary protection. The NEHAWU fact-finding report in health institutions and other public service facilities is alarming.
While workers are facing death, politically connected individuals are being allowed to be “middle-men” for suppliers causing excessive and deliberate inflation of pricing points. We reiterate our call for the government to buy directly from actual manufacturers.
This mismanagement of the procurement process has also led to the sub-standard quality supply of PPE’s, such as recently revealed poor quality sanitisers supplied to some schools.
Of more concern, is the emerging evidence that most PPE’s that are locally available or that can be manufactured domestically, are predominantly being imported from outside. This flies in the face of our nation’s agreement that one of the best ways to attack domestic poverty and unemployment is to build local industrial manufacturing capacity.
COSATU is fully committed to leading its affiliates on a campaign against corruption, especially over the looting of PPE funds. If the government is not willing to fight corruption and protect workers, the federation will encourage workers to fight back by any means necessary, including withdrawing their labour.
The Federation is urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to do an honest introspection and recognise that this country is slowly sinking under the weight of corruption under his watch. He needs to act fast to arrest this deterioration of the situation.
Many people are frustrated by high unemployment and economic dislocation. Millions of families are struggling to have three meals a day, workers are buckling under the pressure of COVID-19 and the resultant economic crisis.
Retail companies are hiking the price of food and other basic amenities and employers are stealing the COVID-19 TERS Fund money that is meant to help workers with zero consequences
Devalued education qualifications guarantee nothing, job security is vanishing, retrenchments are destroying livelihoods and pensions are becoming unaffordable.
This looting is happening at a time when the government is unable to meet its obligations through taxation and has resorted to dangerous levels of inflationary borrowing instead. If the President and his administration are going to borrow money in our name, we have a right to demand that they account for the mismanagement of that money.
This political weakness keeps producing economic weakness. The ANC under his leadership continues to be seen as a rent-seeking, unaccountable caste. The President needs to act decisively and prove that his administration is not a powerless scarecrow with rubber teeth.
We remain committed to partnering with the government to find solutions to many of the country’s problems but there will be a parting of ways between the federation and this administration if corruption is left unchecked, and workers are not protected workers against a deadly virus.
He needs to honour his commitments made to the people of South Africa and prove that his promises were not just meaningless platitudes of a politician during the vote harvesting season.
Thieves and looters should be arrested and sent to prison without delay. We reiterate our call for the government to explore the possibility of special courts to deal with Covi-19 related crimes, like the ones that were used during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. If these courts were good enough for Sepp Blatter, then they should be good enough to protect taxpayers whose money is being carelessly pilfered on a daily basis.
Issued by COSATU
Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
110 Jorissen street, Braamfontein
Tel: 011 339 4911 | Cell: 060 975 6794