Durban – The mayor of eThekwini Municipality Mxolisi Kaunda has asked his office to fast-track the auditing of funds spent in the city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit to investigate allegations of corruption around the government’s spending towards the fight against the coronavirus.
In a statement on Thursday, Kaunda said the eThekwini audit would serve as proof to taxpayers that they had received value for their money.
The municipality has been allocated close to R600 million to respond to the pandemic, which has seen 618 286 people in South Africa infected with the coronavirus since the country’s first reported case in early March.
Kaunda said under a Covid-19 social relief plan launched in KwaNyuswa, about 150 kilometres south-west of the Durban central business district, councillors had identified 1 000 households in each ward in extreme need of assistance.
“A list with ID numbers was compiled where each beneficiary, after receiving their food hampers and vouchers, signed as evidence that they received what was due to them,” he said.
The project had seen the distribution of food vouchers valued at R600 each to around 110 000 households across 110 wards, the mayor said, adding that the handing out of vouchers instead of actual cash helped prevent fraudulent activities.
“It is therefore of paramount importance that we commence with a thorough auditing. Anyone that would be found by this process to have short-changed the poor, would definitely face the full might of the law,” Kaunda said.
The municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province has a confirmed Covid-19 case count of 52 792 with 1040 deaths and 45 649 recoveries. The province as a whole has recorded 11 585 cases with 2102 deaths and 94 680 recoveries.
On Tuesday, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala welcomed the drop in the number of new infections in the province, but said it was concerning that four districts, namely King Cetshwayo, eThekwini, uMgungundlovu and Amajuba, still contributed the highest number of cases.