Gauteng Premier David Makhura says all COVID-19 related tenders or contracts are now being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). This follows allegations of corruption in the awarding of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tenders worth over R1 billion in the province.
Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, who is accused of alleged irregularities related to a R125 million contract, has taken a leave of absence pending the results of an investigation into the tenders.
Speaking at the weekly Provincial Command Council (PCC) briefing on COVID-19 in Johannesburg, Makhura says action will be taken against implicated officials when he receives the reports from the SIU.
“So this is the message I’m sending out today, not just PPE, infrastructure-related procurement; anything we have procured related to COVID-19, which would also include the programme we had around food relief. We don’t want a situation where today it’s PPE and tomorrow it’s something else. So, a comprehensive approach to dealing with corruption is to ensure that all procurements done to address COVID-19 related issues must be under full investigation,” says Makhura.
Premier’s Advisory Committee, Professor Bruce Mellado said earlier on Thursday that Gauteng is ready to relax lockdown regulations, but this must be done gradually. He has been speaking at the weekly briefing on the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes amid reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has been advised to open up the economy and move the alert lockdown from Level 3 to Level 2.
Mellado says the province has been able to handle the surge in infections under the current lockdown level.
“Given the success of controlling the first surge and hotspots, we’re now in a position to relax the lockdown. Clearly, there are different scenarios the relaxation of the lockdown is a complex matter. From the mathematical standpoint and also based on experience from other countries, it is very clear that whatever happens, whatever relations takes place or whatever configuration of the relaxation takes place; there be performed gradually in a phased way.”
Over 194 000 people have tested positive for the virus in Gauteng.
More than 152 000 of them have recovered. However, 2 761 people have died.