Steenhuisen wants Ramaphosa to face MPs on controversial Covid-19 contracts


President Cyril Ramaphosa has been challenged to face the nation in Parliament, and answer questions from MPs about alleged Covid-19 corruption.

The call was made today by interim leader of the opposition, the Democratic Alliance's John Steenhuisen – who decried "the feeding frenzy over Covid19-related tenders among ANC-connected individuals".

These unfolding scandals were "a filthy stain on our country in this time of crisis", Steenhuisen charged.

Now he has called for a snap debate in Parliament, where he wants Ramaphosa to "come and answer for the behaviour of his party's members and set out exactly how he intends to act against each and every implicated individual".

Steenhuisen cited the following cases as requiring answers – which he described as:

"President's Ramaphosa's son, Andile Ramaphosa, landed a R6 million contract to modify taxis in Gauteng to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

"President Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko's husband, Thandisizwe Diko, landed a R125 million contract to supply PPE.

"ANC secretary-General Ace Magashule's sons, Tshepiso Magashule and Thato Magashule, landed Covid-19 procurement contracts in the Free State to the value of R2.7 million.

"Former cabinet minister Minister Nomvula Mokonyane daughter, Katleho Mokonyane, landed an R3-million PPE contract despite her company only being six months old at the time."

Steenhuisen said the president had "promised the nation four months ago that any such corruption would be met with strong action".

"On 23 March, the president stood on national television and solemnly vowed to South Africans that profiteering from the Covid-19 pandemic would not be tolerated and that anyone who did so would face serious consequences," he said.

In his televised address Ramaphosa said: "I want to make it clear that we expect all South Africans to act in the interest of the South African nation and not in their own selfish interests. We will, therefore, act very strongly against any attempts at corruption and profiteering from this crisis.

"I have directed that special units of the National Prosecuting Authority be put together to act immediately and arrest those against who we find evidence of corruption. We will work with the judiciary to expedite cases against implicated persons and make sure the guilty go to jail," Steenhuisen quoted the president as saying in March.

He said the president's words in March had been proved hollow, alleging: "But despite this grand rhetoric, our recent news has been awash with family members of the highest-ranking ANC politicians creaming profits off Covid-19 tenders."

The interim DA leader believes the cases uncovered thus far are possibly only "the tip of the iceberg" of Covid-19-related corruption.

But, he said of Ramaphosa: "He now has an opportunity to prove me wrong. I look forward to the president's honest account in Parliament of his party's looting, and his detailed plan of action to deal with all those involved."

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.