IN QUOTES | 'Clear signs' of abusing a flawed system: the AG speaks

04 September 2020 - 07:11 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu revealed on Wednesday that there is evidence of potential fraud in the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu revealed on Wednesday that there is evidence of potential fraud in the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image: MOELETSI MABE

Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu called on the government to take swift action against officials implicated in corruption and fraud relating to the Covid-19 relief package.

The AG revealed on Wednesday that there is evidence of potential fraud.

He said a second report would be released in November this year.

Here are six telling quotes from his report:

Social relief 

“The support to vulnerable households was budgeted to the extent of R41bn at the beginning. Up to the end of July, that is exactly a month ago, SA Security Agency [Sassa] had already spent R19.7bn towards pre-components. In May, they bought and paid for food parcels. The total expenditure incurred up to that period was R177m, which is included in that R19.7bn.”

Tourism 

“To those people who are doing their business in the tourism sector, the ministry worked very closely with the South African tourism to disburse this R200m of tourism relief. At the end of July, almost all of it had been allocated.

“It was initially meant to be R50,000 per qualifying beneficiary, and there were about 40,000 that were supported. If you multiply the two, you will find that the department did allocate fully that which was given to it.”

System abuse 

“The lack of validation, integration and sharing of data across government platforms resulted in people, including government officials, receiving benefits and grants they were not entitled to. Some applicants could have been unfairly rejected as a result of outdated information on which assessment for eligibility was based.”

A flawed system 

“The pre-existing deficiencies in the supply chain processes of government were amplified by the introduction of the emergency procurement processes allowed for personal protective equipment [PPE].

“Based on what was audited to date, there are clear signs of overpricing, unfair processes, potential fraud and supply chain management legislation being sidestepped.”

Small businesses

“Of the budget of R1.76bn of support to small businesses, up to the end of June, it was about R151m, which means that insofar as that project is concerned, there is still another huge R1.6bn that is yet to be spent.”

Accountability

“Even in this crisis, there is no way we can step away from the disciplines of transparency and accountability.

“This report is going to give us a sense of clarity as to the areas of transparency and accountability that have already been compromised, and how best we can make sure that we bounce back by using a strong instrument that is about supervising this thing to the level where there is minimal opportunity for those that intend to cause harm in respect of diverting these funds.”

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