Johannesburg – The DA said on Wednesday it would ask Parliament to extract an explanation from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on why he had not cancelled “emergency procurement” allowances for Covid-19 as he had committed to doing.
In a statement, DA Member of Parliament and finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis said the National Treasury had also failed to meet its own deadline for a progress report to Parliament on action taken to stem corruption related to the government response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Democratic Alliance will write to the chairperson of the standing committee on finance, to call the minister back to the committee to explain this failure,” he said.
“The president (Cyril Ramaphosa) and Minister Mboweni have spoken often about their commitment to stop Covid corruption, but have dragged their feet on actually doing anything about it.”
Hill-Lewis said Mboweni and National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane had on August 5 assured Parliament they would report back in 10 days on the action to be taken against directors-general and accounting officers involved in misappropriation of Covid-19 funds and on the public release of details of all Covid-19 expenditure.
“This was 14 days ago, but Treasury has not done any of what it committed to. ’Emergency procurement’ has not been ended, and no progress report has been made or submitted to the committee by Treasury,” he said.
“Emergency procurement regulations have facilitated massive Covid-19 corruption involving senior ANC leaders and their families. It would take a simple Treasury instruction to end these allowances, and yet this instruction has not been issued, long after several Covid-19 corruption scandals have been exposed.”
Earlier this month, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said Cabinet had approved the establishment of a ministerial team to look into all public procurement related to Covid-19.
He said the team would consist of Mboweni, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
The move comes amid reports of widespread irregularities in government departments’ procurement of material related to the health crisis.
Ramaphosa, whose spokeswoman Khusela Diko and her husband have also been implicated, has ordered the country’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe all allegations.
African News Agency/ANA