Reports of alleged profiteering from Covid-19 contracts by the relatives of the ANC’s top leaders has emerged, a week after president Cyril Ramaphosa warned that the consequences for those who break the law or bypass regulations will be severe.
The Sunday Times reported that the ANC has been forced into damage control over its reputation as a party filled with corrupt individuals, which now threatens to drive it apart.
It noted that ANC leaders are allegedly benefiting from multi-million rand government contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE).
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s eldest son Tshepiso’s Motheko Projects is reported by the Daily Maverick to have received a contract for R2.29 million, and Tshepiso’s brother Thato’s Marvel Deeds picked up R427,221 from the Free State treasury.
Tuwo Rhodesia, a company owned by former minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s daughter Katleho, received a R2.7 million contract to supply soap to Gauteng’s health department, it reported.
The president’s son is reportedly involved in a project to provide a safety feature for taxis to limit the spread of Covid-19, through his nonprofit company SDI Force, although no state funds are involved in the project, the Sunday Times said.
A relative of deputy minister in the presidency and ANC NEC member Thembi Siweya is also reported to have picked up more than R800,000 worth of contracts to supply PPE, while his cousin scored contracts from the Limpopo health department to deliver face shields and heavy-duty surgical gloves through her company, Rebantle Trading & Projects.
Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba told the Sunday Times there were no irregularities in the awarding of R850,000 worth of contracts to Rebantle Trading & Projects.
Thembi Siweya has denied having any part in the tender.
Limpopo health department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said: “MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba would like to put it categorically clear that she is not a friend to deputy minister Thembi Siweya.”
According to the department, Hlulani Siweya’s company was awarded a contract to deliver 16,450 face shields at R35 each, amounting to R576, 000. “She could, however, confirm delivering only a third of this,” The Sunday Times said.
The department said she also was paid R270,000 for the supply of 10,000 heavy-duty gloves, despite her insistence that this was not the case.
So far, the department has spent R420 million on PPE, with 230 companies involved.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko took a leave of absence last week after allegations were levelled against her husband.
Newspaper reports tied Diko’s husband to irregularities regarding the purchase of personal protective equipment by Gauteng Province’s Department of Health, Bloomberg reported.
In March, a company owned by Diko’s husband, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, won contracts for the supply of equipment worth R125 million. Diko’s husband is the sole director of Royal Bhaca Project, the company tied to the contracts.
Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation on 23 July, that he was concerned about corruption and mismanagement of public funds.
“Increasingly, we are hearing allegations about fraudulent UIF claims, overpricing of goods and services, violation of emergency procurement regulations, collusion between officials and service providers, abuse of food parcel distribution and the creation of fake non-profit organisations to access relief funding.
“From the outset of our response to the pandemic, we have been quite clear that there should be no scope for corruption in the use of these resources.
“More so than at any other time, corruption puts lives at risk,” he said.
The president said that since the declaration of the national state of disaster, the Competition Commission has investigated over 800 complaints of excessive pricing.
It has so far prosecuted or reached settlements with 28 companies, imposing penalties and fines of over R16 million.
The president said that the Auditor-General has also adopted special measures to safeguard funds committed to the fight against Covid-19. Special audits have been undertaken to detect and prevent misuse of these funds and to identify risks in the system.
“We are determined that every instance of alleged corruption must be thoroughly investigated, that those responsible for wrongdoing should be prosecuted and that all monies stolen or overpriced are recovered.
“The consequences for those who break the law or bypass regulations will be severe. The people of South Africa require nothing less than full accountability from those who have been elected and appointed to serve them,” Ramaphosa said.