The Standing Committee on Finance, together with the Select Committee on Finance, were briefed by the National Treasury on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for Covid-19.
The National Treasury said to the committees that it issued three instruction notes and circulars to provide guidance on procurement processes, following the declaration of Covid-19 as a state of disaster. It also issued instructions to all national and provincial departments to report on a monthly basis any procurement of PPE for more than R1 million.
The Co-Chairperson, Mr Joe Maswanganyi, said internal audit committees in national and provincial departments, as well as municipalities, should proactively audit Covid-19-related procurements, on a regular basis, in order to curb corrupt practices.
The committees decided on 28 July 2020 to be briefed by the National Treasury in light of the wide-ranging allegations of corruption in the public domain involving provincial departments of health and some municipalities. Today, Mr Maswanganyi reiterated that the committees do not necessarily believe that service providers who received state contracts to provide PPEs are all corrupt.
"We would like to pay homage to those service providers who are honest with the state in their business dealings, as well as those frontline workers and public servants who are working relentlessly to fight the pandemic. Government officials who are in the network of corrupt service providers should be isolated and brought to book," said Mr Maswanganyi.
He reiterated, however, that corruption allegations should not be used to condemn Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, and that every rand spent by the state should be circulated within the country in order to create jobs.
The committees cautioned the National Treasury to tread carefully with regard to establishing a central procurement system, and said that the process should not contravene provisions in Chapter 3 of the Constitution. The committees will invite the Solidarity Fund, relevant law enforcement agencies and the National Treasury to engage further on the procurement of Covid-19 PPEs.