The ACDP will support all efforts and workable plans to restore our economy to inclusive growth following the devastation caused by COVID-19 to the country’s economy. Sadly, because of the hard lockdown imposed by the government to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, our economy contracted sharply, businesses have closed, and approximately 3 million workers lost their jobs in the second quarter of this year.
The interventions introduced by President Ramaphosa this past week are not new but are a repeat of what the government said many times before. As always, the government has been good with new ideas on paper, but very weak with implementation.
News about the Infrastructure Fund that will provide R100 billion in catalytic finance over the next decade, leveraging as much as R1 trillion in new investment for strategic infrastructure projects are welcome, but we wonder whether corruption that is endemic in our country, will not derail the noble intentions that the President highlighted in this House.
The ACDP reiterates its call to focus more on recovering the more than R500 billion lost as a result of corruption. The Hawks, NPA, SARS, SIU and other law enforcement agencies, have wide powers to freeze bank accounts and attach assets worldwide, but we are not convinced that these powers are being used optimally to send a clear message to corrupt tenderpreneurs and looters that crime is not profitable. All fake millionaires enjoying their ill-gotten gains must pay back what they have stolen.
The ACDP would like to encourage the Hawks and the SIU in particular to accelerate their investigations of the 67% of companies that won tenders related to PPEs. It is scandalous that much of the R50 billion that was spent on PPEs went to companies that are politically connected such as the President’s spokesperson’s family who received a contract of R139 million.
To ensure that such an unfair practice is not repeated, the ACDP endorses a proposal by the SIU that a legislative amendment should be made to prohibit civil servants, public representatives, and their families, from doing business with the State. In addition, the ACDP proposes that the tender system be reviewed due to ongoing abuse that costs the country billions.
If the government is to succeed in their plans for economic reconstruction and recovery, they must be relentless in pursuing all those who have been implicated in corrupt dealings, including senior political officials and those in the House.