- President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied that his government have squandered the R500 billion Covid-19 stimulus package
- Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, the president said that they have only spent about R11 billion of the loan so far
- The president also stressed that allegations of corruption, including those leveled against his own spokesperson, are currently being investigated
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President Cyril Ramaphosa replied to oral questions in the National Assembly on Thursday, 27 August. The president addressed the state's role in the combating femicide, corruption and the claims of the R500 billion Covid-19 stimulus package being stolen.
In July the IMF approved South Africa's first request for emergency aid, granting the country a loan of R72.5bn for Covid-19 relief.
The loan, at an interest rate of about 1%, will help the government finance its R500 billion Covid-19 relief package. Speaking at the plenary session, Ramaphosa has denied that the R500 billion has been looted.
“What has been actually spent on personal protective equipment as per the Treasury records is about R11 billion. And much of that money has gone into buying PPEs.”
He said that as the cases of corruption continue to be investigated, the amount that has been lost will be clearer.
"It is not R500 billion, I needed to clarify that."
The president was asked about the allegations of PPE corruption leveled against his spokesperson Khusela Diko. Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko and her husband have benefited from the government's multibillion-rand effort to supply Covid-19 personal protective equipment.
Diko's husband, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko's company Royal Bhaca Projects was handed R125 million in contracts by the Gauteng Department of Health, according to the Sunday Independent.
Ramaphosa refused to speak in detail on the matter and instead said that the allegations are currently being investigated.
The president also avoided a question about corruption-accused eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her appointment to the KZN legislature.
Ramaphosa said that the matter was being discussed within the structures of the ANC.
He also mentioned that the government has set aside an amount of R1.6 billion to fight the ongoing gender-based violence and femicide in the country.
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Briefly.co.za previously reported that Jackson Mthembu briefed the nation on the outcome of the virtual cabinet meeting that was held on Wednesday, 26 August.
The Minister in the Presidency summarised the various issues that were raised, including the move to Alert Level 2, the return to school and the government's plan to tackle corruption.
According to Mthembu, the move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 is aimed at reviving the economy and to contribute to the creation of jobs, especially in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality industry.
Although the threat of ‘second wave’ of infections is always present, the government hopes that the collective actions of citizens will prevent it from happening.
Addressing the rampant corruption in the country, the cabinet reiterated its commitment to ensure that allegations of corruption relating to Covid-19 procurement are swiftly investigated.
"Those implicated will be severely punished, and money stolen from the State by unscrupulous companies and individuals by inflating the prices of personal protective equipment will be recovered"
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