EC Government still has not acted against PPE corruption

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Finance

Nearly 10 months after the first allegations of fraud, corruption and collusion in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, not a single company that acted as a supplier to the Eastern Cape government has been blacklisted.

Despite Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s firm commitment that his government will take a hard line against Covid-19 corruption, he has been unable to charge a single person criminally or prevent delinquent service providers from doing business with the government.

When the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) briefed Parliament’s SCOPA on 20 October 2020, they revealed that they are investigating contracts awarded in respect of Covid-19 PPE to the tune of R10.5 Billion. Suspicious tenders in the Eastern Cape amounted to a whopping of R1,9 Billion of the total.

The value of suspicious contracts investigated in the Eastern Cape is itself an indictment on the province’s ability to provide clean governance and is second only to Gauteng.

Stronger measures must be put in place in the Eastern Cape to combat irregular procurement in the province. There is a need for interventions in the early detection of corruption which must be proceeded by a coordinated response from law enforcement entities to ensure quick and efficient investigation, prosecution, and the recovery of funds.

The Democratic Alliance has demanded that Mabuyane releases, as soon as possible, a Procurement Disclosure Report to the public, that will provide details of all the companies that have contracted with the Eastern Cape provincial government as well as the value of these contracts.

See letter

In a display of commitment to good governance and transparency, the Western Cape Provincial Treasury produces such a Procurement Disclosure Report, to ensure transparency in Covid-19 procurement within the Western Cape. Monthly reporting on all Covid-19 procurement expenditure is made available via the National Treasury Covid-19 dashboard with a summary report provided by Western Cape Provincial Treasury.

Now, more than ever, people of the Eastern Cape must be reassured that our Provincial Government is serious about fighting corruption. Corruption is the Achilles heel of building a capable state in the Eastern Cape.