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Corruption Monster Grips South Africa In COVID Recovery Times

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South Africa In Covid Recovery

It is mixed emotions for medical personnel in South Africa. While the Covid-19 figures have been coming down, the levels of corruption and money laundering have seen show a different face at such unprecedented times.

It is sad but the blatant theft of state funds has seen a spike at the pandemic times. According to the country’s chief tax collector, Edward Kieswetter, more than half (63 percent) of those awarded PPE tenders were not tax compliant — and many companies that won tenders had no experience in PPE supplies.

This proves that the PPE tender process was dubious from the beginning. Government investigators are now probing more than 600 companies and institutions that were awarded five billion rands ($300 million) in contracts to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers and distribute relief aid.

There are instances of inflated invoicing and the rumor doing rounds that most of these contracts were awarded to those that were politically connected.  Indeed, locals and medical staff have become tired of their country being such a graft-pro.

Missing and siphoned funds also mean that the availability of PEE equipment was limited for the South African medical support staff. In the battle against the pandemic, almost 27000 medical staff members were infected in the line of duty. Africa has recorded 1.33 million cases and nearly 32,000 fatalities, according to official figures.

Doctors and medical staff have helped unearth the corruption racquet. In East Africa for example, doctors and nurses posted images of defective PPE distributed to hospital ICUs across Kenya. These images have been circulated widely. 

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KMSA) was under special scrutiny for the pilferage of huge sums of money meant to purchase PPE.  Uganda’s diplomatic officials have been caught plotting to steal funds meant for coronavirus recovery. In central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo premier Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba announced in May that he had disbursed $10.7 million ($8.4 million) to fight the virus. But a month later the country’s coronavirus tsar, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, said he had only received $1.4 million from the government.

There are many instances which are embarrassing the government. For South Africa, it is going to be a long road for redemption. Corruption actually gets under your skin and is difficult to do away with. The temptation is just too big. As David Lewis, director of Corruption Watch speaks commenting about South Africa’s state of affairs, “Corruption is extremely deep-seated and deep-rooted.”

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