- President Cyril Ramaphosa said Covid-19-related corruption by “some individuals” was “some of the worst tendencies in our society”.
- The DA said the public wanted to see charges, court dates and sentences.
- The EFF said Ramaphosa paid lip service to corruption.
In a speech of exactly 2 500 words, President Cyril Ramaphosa used 74 words to address a topic which has caused much public outrage in recent weeks: Covid-19-related corruption.
In the latest edition of “My fellow South Africans” on Saturday evening, Ramaphosa announced that the country’s lockdown will be eased to Alert Level 2.
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On the spate of corruption in Covid-19-related procurement, he only said the following: “While this crisis has brought us together as a nation, united against a common threat, it has also brought out some of the worst tendencies in our society.
“We have witnessed the actions of some individuals who have sought to profit through corrupt means from this pandemic.
“We have taken decisive action to stop this and bring those responsible to book, and we will regularly update the country on the progress we are making.”
Ramaphosa didn’t provide any examples of the “decisive action” allegedly taken.
It didn’t go unnoticed by the public that the “some individuals” Ramaphosa referred to have ties with the governing party, causing the hashtag voetsekANC to trend on social media platform Twitter.
According to DA interim leader John Steenhuisen, the “brazen looting of Covid funds by ANC cadres and their family members” was the elephant in the room of Ramaphosa’s address on Saturday evening.
“South Africans won’t be distracted by announcements of lockdown levels. They want to know what the president is doing about this pandemic of ANC corruption. They want to see charges, court dates and sentences,” he said in a statement.
The EFF noted in a statement that Ramaphosa didn’t indicate how many public representatives have been suspended or arrested for looting Covid-19 funds.
“This corruption begins in his very own office and goes across ANC-run provinces, municipalities and health departments,” read the party’s statement.
“He continues to pay lip service to corruption and pledge his allegiance to capital.”
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While Ramaphosa didn’t say much on the topic on Saturday evening, he dedicated one of his recent weekly newsletters to it.
Ramaphosa issued a proclamation mandating the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate Covid-19-related corruption. On 6 August, Cabinet announced that six ministers, convened by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, will look into all Covid-19 procurement contracts of government, while law enforcement agencies’ investigations continue.
Despite previous undertakings, journalists were again not allowed to attend the announcement or ask questions of Ramaphosa after his speech.