Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said central procurement for Covid-19 personal protective equipment and goods is under consideration. Closing Wednesday's first debate on the Special Adjustment Appropriation Budget, effectively the Covid-19 emergency Budget, Mboweni said it was 'incorrect' to believe every contract was corrupt.
That the Covid-19 emergency Budget, officially the Adjustment Appropriation Budget, would be passed by the National Assembly was a given. In the previous week of Budget votes, the ANC gave its numerical majority to support all. Wednesday's first reading vote was 226 in favour, 129 against. All individual votes were carried on the back of ANC numbers in the House.
But Wednesday's Covid-19 emergency Budget vote also came in the wake of the start of Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigations into various dodgy Covid-19 contracts, after claims of nepotism, corruption and price gouging. Not only in Gauteng, which is at the heart of the controversy, but also the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere.
"The feeding frenzy that is going on in the country, that every contract and every tender issued is equal to corruption is incorrect... It is very important to put things in perspective," said Mboweni in closing the debate.
Referring to "possible acts of corruption...