Please don’t steal South Africa’s flood money: government

Parliament’s portfolio committee on water and sanitation has warned against ‘the abuse of resources for the benefit of a selected few’ as money and resources pour into KwaZulu-Natal to help those affected by the recent flooding.

The committee warned against the ‘temptation’ to abuse emergency procurement processes, which have mainly been utilised to intervene in the disaster.

“We call on the department to put in place systems to prevent the abuse of state resources and tankering system for the benefit of a selected few. The main purpose of this intervention and the committee’s support is for the benefit of everyone affected by the floods,” said committee chairperson Robert Mashego.

“We urge the department and all law enforcement agencies to act harshly against anyone proven to have abused the emergency procurement system and related processes,” he said.

Opposition parties, civil society groups and private businesses have been less charitable about the disaster funding and corruption, with analysts noting that government and the ruling ANC are effectively guilty until proven innocent.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala was cornered in the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday as opposition political parties raised doubt about the government’s ability to spend flood relief funds without corruption, News24 reports.

Zikalala said the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the South African Human Rights Commission were all willing to help ensure that funds were used for their intended purpose. “We agree there must be no tolerance for the abuse of public funds. We will put in place several measures to protect funds. We will ensure procurement is cost-effective and fair,” he said.

The opposition Democratic Alliance said it would table specific proposals with the speaker of the national assembly on strengthening the oversight powers of parliament and preventing the abuse of power and public money under a national state of disaster.

“Having ignored the DA’s proposals on how to prevent the abuse of disaster relief funds at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa would be well advised to listen to what we have to say this time around.

“The declaration of a national state of disaster is a confirmation of what DA public representatives have been telling us: there is no effective coordination of flood relief in especially KwaZulu-Natal, and widespread reports of abuse of public resources by the ANC in the wake of the disaster.”

No room for corruption 

Announcing the decision to introduce a national state of disaster on Monday evening (18 April), president Cyril Ramaphosa said there could be no room for corruption, mismanagement, or fraud.

Ramaphosa noted his government had learnt from the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic and is drawing together various stakeholders to be part of an oversight structure to ensure all funds disbursed to respond to this disaster are appropriately accounted for and that the state receives value for money.

“These stakeholders include the Office of the Auditor-General, business, religious sector, labour, community-based organisations as well as professional bodies such as engineers and accountants.

“We are determined that there must be transparency and accountability as the projects are costed and implemented, as well as how resources are deployed from the beginning.”


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Please don’t steal South Africa’s flood money: government