The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes and welcomes the SIU report into COVID-19 related procurement by all spheres of government. The fact that 62% of COVID-19 related procurement by the government has been found to be irregular is disgraceful, but sadly not shocking.
After all, the Auditor-General has been telling us year after year that most spheres of government and state institutions are failing to comply with guidelines and financial regulations. Many of these government institutions have a deep-seated culture of non-compliance with supply chain management and contract management processes.
Despite these scathing reports from the AGSA about the continuing and frightening quality of financial management in government in general, there has been no appetite to hold the responsible people accountable.
A deadly pandemic was never going to stop a private sector that has fixed the price of bread and medicines before, and a public sector that has been stealing on an industrial scale.
COSATU reiterates its call for NPA and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that all those who are implicated in this corruption and mismanagement of resources are locked up and are made to pay back the money.
This industrial looting is unacceptable in a country that is struggling with poverty and is also saddled with trillions of Rands in debt.
This country needs a massive drive to enforce the laws against irregular and unauthorised spending and corruption. Those responsible for this mess should be held accountable because the effects of corruption in both the public and private sectors harm the poor and affects the whole economy.
The country also needs to develop processes that will encourage and protect the whistle-blowers who are risking their lives to expose corruption and mismanagement. The perpetrators of the recent assassinations of whistle blowers must be brought to book, otherwise it will be unlikely that others may be willing to expose corruption.
Treasury has an ethical responsibility to see to it that the public money is used for its designated purposes and spent within guidelines of existing legislation across the state.
Public procurement remains a cesspool of corruption. It’s critical that a single online, transparent public procurement system encompassing the entire state be established and find expression in the long delayed Public Procurement Bill.
The government needs to assure South Africans that the recent World Bank loan and their tax money, in general, will not continue to be stolen by criminals in the public sector colluding with crooks in the private sector.
The AGSA needs to use the full powers of the Auditing Amendment Act that empowers it to issue instruction orders to errant departments and to hold personally liable the offending authorities and officials. The government needs to act upon the Zondo Commission into State Capture and Corruption’s proposed measures to tackle corruption, including tabling the necessary legislative amendments at Parliament.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (COSATU National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 679