Real action, real fast: OUTA applauds SIU
Corruption is best handled when swift action is taken to prevent the proceeds thereof being lost to the system. Once the money is paid to those companies and individuals involved in corrupt activities, it is generally lost through layers of money laundering and takes ages to recover, if at all. The faster the authorities are able to act and halt the money flow, after quick action to detect the transaction irregularities, the better we are able to retrieve the funds and hold the perpetrators to account.
This is exactly what has transpired this week, with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) action against 44 individuals and companies to freeze funds paid to one the companies implicated (Ledla Structural Development). Ledla had secured a R46m contract from Gauteng province for Covid-19 services, and had in turn paid out almost R39 million to 39 other companies.
We hope this action will be accompanied by holding those responsible to account and criminal charges laid where appropriate.
One of the companies named in the court order is Royal Bhaca Projects, owned by the husband of Khusela Diko, who is the spokesperson for President Ramaphosa and currently on special leave. OUTA would like to see far more stringent action to drive accountability in such instances, in order to send a message to those in authority that government officials and their family members must refrain from doing business with government.
Looting of disaster relief funds is particularly despicable and sickening.The Covid-19 emergency funding is meant to protect citizens, both those in the frontline dealing with the pandemic and those who fall ill in it. These are funds which South Africa is struggling to afford and during a time when another 3 million have lost their jobs.
We welcome the fact that the action is being taken against both the businesses and the officials implicated.
The Gauteng government this week released information on the Covid-19 contracts and OUTA called for greater transparency on these matters.