COVID-19: Net closing in on those involved in tender, fraud irregularities

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says it's probing about 26 allegations of corruption countrywide - linked to relief funds. #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - The net is closing in on those involved in coronavirus tender and fund irregularities.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says it's probing about 26 allegations of corruption countrywide - linked to relief funds.

In Gauteng alone, more than160 companies are now being investigated for irregular tenders relating to personal protective equipment.

Gauteng has been looted the most - a R2-billion PPE tender scandal is being probed.

READ: Ramaphosa orders PPE fraud probe

Implicated, among others, are Heath MEC Bandile Masuku and the husband of presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko.

But it doesn't end there. A chief financial officer and chief director of procurement at the province's health department have also been fingered.

The SIU says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We have opened a criminal case against three companies for now and we are still continuing with the process as we speak, we are looking at more companies... now we are talking at companies we are looking at in Gauteng and the number now is 164," said Kaizer Kganyago, SIU Spokesperson.

READ: Western Cape releases PPE tender report

The investigating body is honing in on all the deals that went down across the country.

"We are looking at each and every company that did business and we want to purely check whether the appointment was done in accordance with the procurement processes. We also want to check whether the pricing was done in line with the treasury regulations that were put in place," Kganyago said.

The president has also appointed a team of ministers to probe the allegations - but this has resulted in some criticism.

As the cases pile up - and with no clear timeframes in place - South Africans are joining the debate on social media, making their views clear.

They want action.

READ: COVID-19 corruption: Makhura admits the rot is within

Pressure is also mounting on President Cyril Ramaphosa to turn his words into action.

"We need to know which ministers and their children are involved in doing business with the state. There needs to be a public list so that we can ascertain for ourselves whether the processes have been followed and that is what people are demanding from Cyril Ramaphosa. They want police to do their work, they want the culture of impunity to end. And they want the president to make good of his promise that those who steal during COVID-19 and those who stole during state capture will have their day in court, they will have to defend the allegations against them because justice must be seen to be done," said Karima Brown, Political Analyst.

The next few weeks will be crucial.

South Africans will be closely watching the wheels of justice turning - or not.