Ramaphosa to get report from 'fusion centre' on Covid-19 corruption in SA

27 August 2020 - 12:01 By Sthembile Cele
Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu says the 'fusion centre' acts as the co-ordinating body of law enforcement agencies tasked with looking into Covid-19 related graft.
Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu says the 'fusion centre' acts as the co-ordinating body of law enforcement agencies tasked with looking into Covid-19 related graft.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa will next week receive the first report from the multidisciplinary “fusion centre” which has been tasked with dealing with Covid-19 related corruption.

“They will also report on a six-weekly basis to the president on how far they are doing in curbing corruption, fighting those who are found with their hands in the till and making sure that people appear before courts to answer for their greed,” minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said in a post- cabinet media briefing on Thursday.

The fusion centre — compromised of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), State Security Agency, SA Revenue Service, the Hawks and the Financial Intelligence Centre — acts as the co-ordinating body of law-enforcement agencies tasked with looking into Covid-19 related graft.

“The fusion centre, which co-ordinates the work of all law-enforcement agencies, remains on track to present its first six-weekly report in the first week of September 2020 to President Cyril Ramaphosa. The cabinet will give the necessary support to all law-enforcement agencies. This will include giving them the resources they need to function optimally, independently without fear, favour and prejudice in facilitating the investigation and prosecution of corruption-related cases without any further delay,” Mthembu said.

“The scourge of corruption, which manifests itself in the blatant theft and looting of state resources, is the biggest societal cancer that has the potential to erode public trust in government’s concerted efforts to improve the lives of the people. The cabinet condemns in the strongest possible terms all acts of corruption and is confident that all wrongdoers will eventually be prosecuted, without fear or favour.”

The presidency announced on Wednesday that the list of all suppliers involved in the procurement of personal protective equipment and other Covid-19 related resources had been published on the National Treasury’s website.

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Mthembu emphasised on Thursday that the publication of the list was in the interest of transparency and that the interministerial committee which had been compiling the lists would be attending to a few outstanding departments.

Allegations of corruption have even visited the personal office of the president, with his spokesperson Khusela Diko’s husband being implicated in the abuse of procurement protocols in Gauteng. Ramaphosa has not publicly commented on the matter, or suspended her. Mthembu announced that Diko had requested a leave of absence a month ago “pending investigations” on the allegations involving her husband.

Other items on the agenda of cabinet were the reopening of schools and institutions of higher learning under alert level 2. The sitting also approved two training programmes for members of the executive from all spheres of government.

Cabinet also signed off on three bills including: the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill of 2018, the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill and the Electoral Law Amendment Bill of 2020.

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