Treasury's emergency procurement lacks transparency: Corruption Watch

14 May 2020 - 11:29 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Corruption Watch has warned of corruption and a lack of transparency regarding emergency procurement during the lockdown.
Corruption Watch has warned of corruption and a lack of transparency regarding emergency procurement during the lockdown.
Image: 123RF/LEON SWART

Corruption Watch has written to the National Treasury raising concerns about the risk of corruption and the lack of transparency relating to emergency procurement during the lockdown.

"The release of successive instruction notes has created legal uncertainty and increased risk of corruption because of the lack of transparency or provision for monitoring procurement by third parties," the organisation said in a statement.

Corruption Watch said it had requested clarity on the process for procurements that occurred under previous regulations, whether these were to subsist, and what reporting and publication requirements were in place.

Informal part-time work is the bread and butter of many foreign migrant workers in SA. They travel to SA to look for jobs, work for a few months and head back home with some money for themselves and their families. A group of men from Lesotho who came to SA for that reason are now stranded in the country for much longer than they expected thanks to the lockdown.

“Issues of transparency and accountability are paramount in all of our work, and nowhere are these more critical than in the arena of public procurement,” said Karam Singh, head of legal and investigations at Corruption Watch.

“While we appreciate the need for fluidity to respond to the shifting demands of this global pandemic, it is equally as important that the basic principles governing procurement remain in place to ensure that the much-needed support reaches beneficiaries timeously and without interference.”

According to the organisation, the needs of the most vulnerable should remain a priority for all the stakeholders involved in the emergency procurement process.

“We must do everything within our power to limit further damage and ensure that there is ample provision for public scrutiny of procurement during this crisis,” added Singh.

Corruption Watch called on the Treasury to share its plans to improve transparency so that civil society organisations could effectively monitor emergency procurement.

A clinical research centre in Cape Town called TASK has begun a vaccine clinical trial on 500 health workers to determine if the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine can prevent people from contracting the coronavirus or limit the severity of Covid-19 symptoms.


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