It is expensive to prosecute COVID-19 procurement cases: Competition Commission

PPE REUTERS 2 - It is expensive to prosecute COVID-19 procurement cases: Competition Commission

The Competition Commission says it is very costly to prosecute COVID-19 procurement related cases and has called on the government to urgently address the current systemic failures in public procurement.

Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele says such cases can overwhelm the capacity of institutions such as the Competition Commission.

Bonakele says, “The Commission has swiftly investigated these two cases involving very high markups for COVID-19 PPE. The nature and scale of these investigations and prosecutions and unprecedented. Individual cases will not address what appears to be a systematic failure of procurement systems. We, therefore, call authorities and policymakers to address these systematic failures as individual cases of this nature are complex, expensive and may even overwhelm the capacity of institutions.”

In the video below, Bonakele says the Competition Competition has referred COVID-19 related public procurement cases to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution:

‘Fight against corruption’

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has also reiterated its call for corrupt political leaders to be immediately dismissed.

The move follows the African National Congress’ National Executive Committee’s special meeting that resolved that those involved in corruption step aside and face disciplinary action.

The labour federation is also calling for massive dedicated financial support for sectors that are battling under the current COVID-19 crisis – especially the tourism sector.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi addressed economic challenges facing the country at a Chatham House webinar briefing. “We need clear political leadership in the fight against corruption. This must include the immediate dismissal of any political barrier or office manager that is implicated in corruption. The attachment of their assets and the speedy prosecution and incarceration. That is why we are calling on government to establish rapid responses that are anti-corruption like your anti-corruption courts on the model like what we had in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup.”

SIU to probe UIF

On Thursday, Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi said he has requested the Special Investigation Unit to probe irregularities and processes regarding the Unemployment Insurance Fund COVID-19 funds.

The Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has also found that more than 30 000 people, who are not eligible to receive the R350 special unemployment grant, were paid by the South African Social Security Agency.

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