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Committee to probe Covid looting like “a fox investigating why the chickens are missing”

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The EFF has slammed the appointment of an inter-ministerial committee by President Cyril Ramaphosa to probe allegations of corruption in the procurement of PPE.

File image. Picture: Ian Landsberg African News Agency (ANA).

THE EFF has slammed the appointment of an inter-ministerial committee by President Cyril Ramaphosa to probe allegations of corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 crisis, likening it to a fox investigating why the chickens are missing.

The red berets said that the formation of the committee was nothing but a public relations exercise aimed at misleading South Africans into thinking that the government was fighting corruption while it was at the centre of the scourge of corruption and looting.

The committee, to be chaired by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, also consists of five other Cabinet ministers, including Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.

EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said that the Cabinet as individuals and as a collective had failed to put measures in place to ensure that the process was efficient, corruption-free and of value to taxpayers’ money.

“The executive is the one that is being accused of corruption, wrongdoing, maladministration and negligence, and they therefore cannot be the same people who are investigating themselves. The establishment of the committee is, therefore, nothing but a public relations exercise aimed at misleading the people of South Africa that the government is fighting corruption while it is part of the problem,” said Pambo.

He added that the government could not possibly investigate itself on corruption and that the task of investigating government corruption should have been left to external bodies such as law enforcement agencies, the public protector, Parliament, the judiciary and any other body that is not part of the problem.

“The reality is that ministers are at the core of Covid-19 funds looting through a web of front companies meant to hide this truth and cannot investigate any alleged corruption when they are the ones who should be investigated,” Pambo said.

He added that the last solution to corruption related to tenders is to abolish the tender system and build state capacity that is linked with a strong inward industrial policy.

“Until then, ministers of the ruling party want to steal and investigate themselves, their spouses, children and friends while our front-line health care workers are dying because they do not have PPEs.

“This is a clear case of a fox investigating why the chickens are missing,” Pambo said.