President Cyril Ramaphosa says 95% of all provincial and national government departments have submitted all information requested to the Inter-Ministerial Committee in relation to COVID-19 procurement.
This comes after Cabinet established a ministerial team to compile and collate a comprehensive report of the details of all tenders and contracts awarded by national departments, provincial governments, and other public entities as part of the response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Thursday, the President said the ministerial team was given the responsibility to ensure that the details of these tenders and contracts are made public.
“Earlier this week, National Treasury started publishing the submissions from these various government departments and entities on their website.
“To date, 95% of provincial and national departments and State entities have submitted all information regarding COVID-19 procurement to the ministerial team.
“This initiative is unprecedented in our country’s history, enabling members of the public to find detailed information about how public funds are being spent,” the President said.
The government believes the initiative will establish an important precedent for the future expenditure of this nature.
President Ramaphosa said the publishing of COVID-19 procurement information marks a turning point and is the start of a new era of transparency and accountability in the procurement of goods and services by public entities.
“The measures that we are taking will definitely lead to procurement reform, which will ensure that we find solutions to the many procurement maladies, including corruption, and ensures that the government does not overpay for goods and services and gets value for money.”
The President said the allegations of corruption in the procurement of goods and services for the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic has caused outrage among South Africans and the executive.
“It is disgraceful that at this time of national crisis, there are companies and individuals who seek to criminally benefit from our efforts to protect people’s health and save lives.
“As a government, we have taken several measures not only to detect, investigate, and prosecute such crimes but also to strengthen measures to prevent corrupt activities.
“To achieve this purpose, I have authorized the Special Investigating Unit to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 funds across all spheres of the State.
“The work of the SIU is taking place alongside the work of the recently-established special coordination centre, which is called the Fusion Centre, to strengthen the collective efforts among law-enforcement agencies to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute COVID-related corruption.
“National Treasury has taken effective steps to tighten procurement regulations. These measures will strengthen the ongoing work of the Auditor General to audit, in real-time, all COVID expenditure,” said President Ramaphosa. – SAnews.gov.za