South Africa: Treasury Attempts to Stop the Feasting By Covidpreneurs

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize briefs the media on government's plans to combat the spread of Covid 19 in South Africa.

The Treasury has strengthened its oversight hand by pulling the plug on Covid-19 emergency procurement by national government departments, provinces, and municipalities. The auditor-general's office will now be required to audit the expenditure of government arms on a daily or weekly basis, rather than examine their financial books every six or 12 months.

Can the National Treasury play an active role in stopping so-called Covidprenuers from unlawfully raiding taxpayer funds that are set aside for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other Covid-19-related goods?

The custodian of SA's public funds said it cannot do much beyond tightening procurement rules and overseeing how the government spends money across its three spheres (national, provincial, and municipal).

In other words, the Treasury is still leaving it to accounting officers in government - including CFOs, heads of procurement, internal auditors, general accounting officers, and others in the finance value chain - to ensure that the procurement of PPE and other goods is in line with laws. The main laws governing the procurement of face masks/shields, hazmat suits, gloves, hand sanitisers, ventilators, and others are the Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Finance Management Act, which both call for prudence and spending that...

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