While the rest of the world went through the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa had the added burden of what was recently described as “a corruption crisis”.
“Covid-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis – and one that we are currently failing to manage,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of the global advocacy group, Transparency International.
She was speaking on the release of the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), an annual report which ranked countries and territories in terms of their perceived levels of public sector corruption.
The 2020 iteration painted a grim picture, with two-thirds of the 180 countries featured having scoring less than 50 out of 100 – among them South Africa, which scored 44.
Allegations of widespread abuses of state resources earmarked for the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa reared their head last year, with a number of politicians and high profile business people having been caught in the fray.
This week, the High Court in Pretoria confirmed a provisional preservation order the SA Revenue Service had secured against Gauteng businessman Hamilton Ndlovu.
He triggered an outcry when he posted images on social media of luxury vehicles he purchased last May.
The Hawks are now also probing a number of government contracts for personal protective equipment that companies linked to Ndlovu nabbed.
Last week, allegations of impropriety surfaced around tenders awarded by the national health department to a KwaZulu-Natal-based company for Covid-19-centred communications.
The company, which trades under the name Digital Vibes, has been linked to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Last month, the Special Investigating Unit released an 86- page report on the status of its investigations, which revealed a total of 2 556 contracts – spread between 1 774 service providers and valued at more than R13.3 billion.
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