Gauteng premier David Makhura. Picture: MOELETSI MABE
Gauteng premier David Makhura. Picture: MOELETSI MABE

Gauteng premier David Makhura has promised to name every company that scored from Covid-19 tenders as it seeks to put a lid on corrupt activity that has bedevilled its fight against the pandemic.

This is in addition to his announcement last week that the State Security Agency (SSA) would conduct lifestyle audits on all members of his provincial cabinet.

Health MEC Bandile Masuku took leave after corruption allegations against him and his wife, Loyiso, who is the City of Johannesburg shared services member of the mayoral committee (MMC).

The couple was allegedly linked to an irregular R125m contract awarded to King Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko’s company Royal Bhaca Projects, according to a report in the Sunday Independent newspaper.

Diko’s wife is Khusela Diko, who is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson. Khusela Diko and Loyiso Masuku have taken leave from their jobs while the tender is being investigated.

Gauteng is now the epicentre of the pandemic in SA having recorded 194,685 Covid-19 cases by Wednesday night, which accounts for 34% of the country’s infections. SA had 568,919 confirmed cases, 432,029 recoveries, and 11,010 deaths as of Wednesday night.

“In terms of the proclamation signed by the president, the scope of the investigations by the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] includes all Covid-19 procurement. This means all projects including infrastructure and food relief are being investigated,” Makhura said after this week’s command council update on Thursday.

“In keeping with our commitment to transparency and accountability, we will publish a list of companies that were appointed to provide goods and services in support of our response to our Covid-19 pandemic.”

He said the continued decrease in the number of new positive cases per week and a significant increase in recoveries were  indications that Gauteng was making good progress in the fight against the pandemic.

“It is not yet time for us to let our guard down given the good progress we are making. There is still a large number of people who are vulnerable to being infected,” he said, adding that the provincial government was still concerned about the 40-89 age group and people with comorbidities, who make up the majority of the mortality rate.

“Our primary focus remains saving as many lives as possible,” he said.

Makhura said the team of experts working with the government predicted that Gauteng could handle a new surge under the conditions of level 3 and closed schools. “Non-pharmaceutical interventions need to continue nonetheless,” he added.

Part of the panel that presented the data on Thursday was senior researcher at the Gauteng City Region Observatory Gillian Maree, who gave a presentation on adherence to lockdown measures by the public.

“Adherence to lockdown conditions in level 5 was high, but movement has increased with lower lockdown levels. Lockdown fatigue is increasingly being reported and so there was an increase in complacency towards preventive measures,” she said.

“There are widespread and severe impacts to the economy and livelihoods, high levels of stress and impacts on mental health as the longer-term economic and social impacts manifest.”

Should an outbreak occur, those with existing conditions, poor nutrition and a history of poor health in general are likely to be more vulnerable, said Maree.

“These impacts are likely to be felt unevenly. Poorer communities are likely to bear the brunt of the dire health and socioeconomic consequences as Covid-19 spreads. In addition, with various shutdown measures already in place, they will be the most vulnerable to these dramatic changes in the patterns of social functioning, and the downturn in economic activity that will inevitably result.

“Women are more likely to live in crowded conditions, most likely because they are more likely to live in larger households. Women are more likely to rely on public health care [and] transport and are more likely to report a poor health status.”

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