The Free State Treasury Department says it is co-operating with the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) COVID-19 related procurement investigations.
The province also came under scrutiny with reports that those close to former Free State Premier and current African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, and other politicians have benefitted from Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tenders worth millions in the province.
Shocking PPE tender corruption reports have caused public outcry. The reports continue to emerge, linking politicians to to those that clinched COVID-19 related tenders.
The Free State Department of Finance has confirmed that more than 440 companies were awarded contracts in the province.
Opposition parties came out guns blazing accusing ANC members of using COVID-19 pandemic to enrich themselves.
“We expected this. It’s not only the sons of Magashule, most of the children related to the leadership of the ANC, their family members, their wives they are part of the scandal of the PPEs in the province. Let everyone who is implicated be investigated and all of them they must face the full might of the law. We will assist the police we will give them names of the companies of those who are still hiding that benefited from these PPEs,” says Mandisa Makheseni, EFF Chairperson.
Allegations that ANC SG Ace Magashule’s sons received COVID-19 PPE tenders:
However, the ANC did not let this slide.
ANC Mangaung Task Team Chairperson, Mxolisi Siyonza says opportunists are attempting to tarnish the image of ANC leaders.
“They can enter into any procurement because they are private citizens. It cannot be right for citizens of these country or media to discriminate against them because they are sons of leaders of the ANC. Discrimination is wrong even if is done to the children of our leaders and they cannot live under the shadow of their parents. Our leaders cannot be attacked because of full citizens, if there is anything wrong that cannot be put to their parents. So we don’t believe that the Secretary General has influenced the procurement,” says Siyonza.
Members of the public have weighed in.
“The process was not fair fair because of the mission was not fulfilled because they give their friends, the money should circulate amongst them and not be served to the community as it is supposed to be,” says a resident.
“I’m happy because I did not find any opportunity to bid for contracts , I could have applied for tenders but if connections are used to award them, people are only choosing their families,” says another resident.
Free State Treasury insists that all companies underwent a thorough supply chain management process. The department has initiated an internal audit on COVID-19 procurement to investigate any wrong doing.
“They all had the capacity and they all complied with the minimum standard set out by national treasury as well as the provincial bid document which was formulated by our supply chain management team. They did deliver in accordance with the orders issued to them.We are complying and cooperating with the SIU at this stage through National Treasury, as in when they request information with regard to this particular process we do supply them,” says Andrew Visagie, Finance MEC Spokesperson.
Treasury says the outcomes of all the investigations will be made public.
Below Magashule speaks on PPE procurement and corruption:
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