- President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a promise to SA that corruption relating to Covid-19 funds will be harshly punished
- This comes as numerous incidents of graft have come to light since the announcement of the R500 billion relief package
- Briefly.co.za explores the president's plan to crack down on looters during this time of crisis
President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised South Africa that the government will crack down on corruption and mismanagement when it comes to Covid-19 relief funds. Addressing the nation on Thursday, Ramaphosa vowed that consequences will be 'very, very severe' for those caught red-handed.
Ramaphosa said that a 'coordinating centre' has been established to reinforce efforts between law enforcement agencies and to help investigate corruption allegations.
These allegations relate to social relief grants, the procurement of personal protective equipment and the distribution of food parcels.
The president revealed, without going into details, that 36 cases are currently at an advanced stage of investigation.
This coordinating hub is based at the Financial Intelligence Centre and sees nine state institutions brought together. This includes the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks, the South African Revenue Service, the State Security Agency and the Special Investigations Unit.
Ramaphosa has also signed off on a proclamation green-lighting the Special Investigations Unit to immediately probe any suspected unlawful activity when it comes to Covid-19 funds:
"If it finds evidence it is obliged to refer such evidence to the prosecuting authorities. It is also empowered to institute civil proceedings for recovery of any damages."
The president has insisted on receiving interim reports on these probes every six weeks to 'ensure speedy action' against the corrupt.
Ramaphosa lamented that the corruption on display came at a time where relief is desperately needed:
"What concerns me, and what concerns all South Africans, is those instances where funds are stolen and misused – where goods we have to procure are diverted or food parcels are stolen from needy households."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that President Ramaphosa's own office had been implicated in graft allegations.
A report has alleged that President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko and her husband had benefited from the government's multibillion-rand effort to supply Covid-19 personal protective equipment.
Diko's husband, Madzikane Thandisizwe Diko's company Royal Bhaca Projects was handed R125 million in contracts by the Gauteng Department of Health.
Royal Bhaca secured two contracts to the tune of R47 million and R78 million to supply and deliver PPE to the department.
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