WATCH | 'You are a liar': President Cyril Ramaphosa can't be trusted, says activist body

06 August 2020 - 14:30 By Zimasa Matiwane
The organisation Activists Movement of South Africa has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying the responsibility for Covid-19 tender corruption lies with him.
The organisation Activists Movement of South Africa has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying the responsibility for Covid-19 tender corruption lies with him.
Image: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Civil society organisation the Activists Movement of South Africa (Amsa) says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government cannot be trusted, nor can he, and they have labelled those who “steal” Covid-19 funds “thieves and murderers”.

“You are a liar and you together with your MPs are thieves and murderers. We are in the middle of a global pandemic ... every day we hear of someone we know who are dying of this virus ... all this while our politicians, officials, their friends and families are making their bonuses of the century,” said Amsa leader Veronica Ncube in a video.

Ncube said it was Ramaphosa's responsibility to ensure that rampant corruption linked to lucrative contracts for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) was ended, saying the president had made no attempt to ensure that the R500bn Covid-19 relief funds did not end up in the pockets of his “thieving friends and comrades”.

“How could Mr President hand over money that is meant for easing the impact of Covid-19 into the hands of rogues ... no monitoring, no accountability, no transparency, what did you expect? 

“These are unscrupulous, disgusting, sickening, nauseating and repulsive people who should be behind bars. We are not surprised that billions have been diverted to the pockets of politicians, overnight tenderpreneurs through a system of patronage, tender scams,” said Ncube.

Amsa also believes that “greedy officials” at the department of basic education, working in cahoots with “tenderpreneurs” have delayed the opening of schools due to lack of capacity in companies awarded tenders to deliver PPE.

“We believe that education officials have awarded these tenders to friends and families who do not have the capacity to deliver the products within the stipulated time frame. The tender process is shrouded in secrecy and protected by the emergency regulations, this gives rogue elements free access to plunder state resources,” Ncube said.

The organisation further claimed to be in possession of copies of tender documents issued by the department of education in the Eastern Cape which “clearly shows that these tenders were rushed and awarded late on May 25 stipulating that all PPEs were to be delivered by May 27, a mere two days later”. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, Amsa raised concerns about prices it alleges were attached to each PPE item by the Treasury.

“Thermal thermometers cost about R800 each but the Treasury allocated a staggering R2,500 for each. Face masks are allocated R25 when these can be procured at R6.50 on bulk purchases and including delivery,” said Ncube.

The organisation alleged that “amounts allocated for each item were inflated to such an extent that in some cases the profit margins exceed 1,000%”.

Amsa has called on Ramaphosa to probe procurement of PPE for schools by the department of basic education and for officials who took part in the alleged inflation of PPE prices to be exposed and removed immediately from the department, if found to be guilty.

The organisation also called on the Treasury to immediately conduct a review of all prices paid for PPE.

“It is unimaginable that our children’s lives are being compromised during this orgy of looting. We are in a crisis and we expect political leadership to rise to the occasion by placing the lives of our people first.  

“Our schools could not open on time and our children have missed out on valuable teaching time which cannot be recovered. President Ramaphosa must institute a high-level forensic investigation into the fraudulent activities taking place in the department of education,” she added.

Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale did not immediately comment.

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