Parliament, Friday, 21 August 2020 – The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has told the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) about its expectations concerning dealing with Covid-19-related procurement and for the prosecution of corrupt elements.

The effectiveness of the IMC was the focal point of the committee so that consequence management can be expedited.

Furthermore, the committee said the translation of concrete results should include successful prosecution of the perpetrators of corruption and the application of appropriate and effective consequences. It said its patience for corruption is thin and has taken a tough stance against corruption, and has called upon the IMC to position itself firmly and coordinate its work in this strong fight against corruption.

The IMC appeared before the committee today to brief the committee regarding its work towards the allegations of corruption in the procurement of goods and services sourced for the purpose of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Explaining the mandate of the IMC, the Minister of Justice, Mr Ronald Lamola, who is the IMC Chairperson, assured the committee that the Executive cannot conduct oversight over itself. He said the IMC exists to empower and enhance the work of all law enforcement agencies in fighting corruption and to fast-track the congestion of work regarding the fight against corruption.

The committee heard that there will be dedicated courts that will deal with Covid-19-related procurement corruption cases, and the budget that is going to be used will include allocations from different departments. The committee has urged the IMU to be decisive in dealing with departments that do not cooperate, especially regarding the provision of information.

The heads of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU), Auditor-General (AG), South African Revenue Services (SARS), South African Police Service (SAPS), Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also briefed the committee about their roles in this fight against corruption.

The AG told the committee that it is going to submit the report on the expenditure of the R500 billion stimulus package that was made available to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in September. It also told the committee that some of the money has not been disbursed by the National Treasury. The committee heard that the companies that got tenders include car wash businesses and bakeries.

The committee appreciated the overwhelming commitment that was displayed by the IMC and other law enforcement agencies that were in the meeting. The committee also noted the IMC’s appreciation of Parliament on this matter of the investigation of corruption against Covid-19-related procurement and supply chain management processes. The committee will meet the IMC in the next parliamentary term.


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