President Cyril Ramaphosa visits a Covid-19) treatment facilities in Johannesburg. Picture: JEROME DELAY/REUTERS
President Cyril Ramaphosa visits a Covid-19) treatment facilities in Johannesburg. Picture: JEROME DELAY/REUTERS

Under pressure from opposition parties and the public, the government on Wednesday released the names of all the companies that won Covid-19 tenders.

The ANC-led government has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks after allegations of corruption in the awarding of Covid-19 tenders surfaced countrywide, with provincial governments giving tenders to politically connected people. This was most prevalent in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, became the face of the alleged Covid-19 corruption after Royal Bhaca, a company owned by her husband, Thandisizwe Diko, was exposed as allegedly winning a tender from Gauteng health department.

The scandal led to Diko and health MEC Bandile Masuku taking a leave of absence while the matter is investigated.

Ramaphosa said publishing the list of all Covid-19-related government expenditure was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to transparency.

“This measure is unprecedented, and a clear demonstration of government’s commitment to transparency and accountability when it comes to allegations of corruption in the Covid-19 procurement process,” Ramaphosa said.

In a statement on Wednesday, acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said a full list of companies that had been awarded contracts by the government was published by the office of the chief procurement officer.

The list is for all procurement related to Covid-19, including from provinces and parastatals.

As  criticism over the way the government handled Covid-19 procurement intensified.  Ramaphosa  established an interministerial team, led by justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola, to look into all tenders and deals related to the acquisition of  equipment to fight the pandemic.

He also issued a presidential proclamation in July allowing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to look into the tenders. In early August the unit said it was investigating  658 tenders and other pandemic-related contracts worth R5.08bn.

His directive followed a tense ANC meeting at which corruption was discussed.

The meeting instructed party leaders to compile a list of its members implicated in corruption or who are facing charges. The party is due to discuss the matter further this weekend.

Ramaphosa said in a statement that collaboration between departments related to Covid-19 tenders showed that his government would intensify efforts to act against any individuals or companies involved in corruption and profiteering during the coronavirus pandemic.

“By publishing these lists we have honoured our promise to the SA people. They enable proper scrutiny of the details of all companies who have received tenders for Covid-19-related services,” he said.

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