Political parties lambaste ANC 'hyenas' over Covid-19 corruption

Political parties lambaste ANC 'hyenas' over Covid-19 corruption

Political parties have slammed the ruling ANC and its handling of Covid-19 relief funds, which were allegedly looted by connected party leaders.

During a debate of the National Assembly on Tuesday, parties tore into the ANC, placing the blame squarely on the party and its leaders.

A R500bn relief fund was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa after he placed the country on lockdown as a reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it has been marred with corruption, ranging from the looting of the UIF TERS monies, to misappropriating food parcels and alleged corruption related to personal protective equipment.

DA leader John Steenhuisen, who sponsored the debate, was the first to take a dig at the party, going as far as referring to the looters as hyenas.

“Covid funds were intended for life-giving food and life-saving medical equipment. This is not just theft. It’s murder. Corruption costs lives,” he said. Steenhuisen that while the DA was building field hospitals in the Western Cape, the ANC was digging graves in Gauteng.

“We’ve heard that Covid looters include high-ranking ANC politicians such as Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku. And that Ace Magashule’s sons and Nomvula Mokonyane’s daughter scored Covid-related contracts,” said Steenhuisen. “These were a pack of heartless hyenas feeding off a helpless, dying springbok. And this should outrage us all.”

The EFF's Omphile Maotwe also took a dig at the ANC and the leadership of parliament, saying there were early warning signs that cash was going to be looted.

“It is a shame that parliament allowed itself to be a spectator to the Covid-19 corruption pandemic ... all the signs were there from the beginning,” said Maotwe.

She said ANC ministers were arrogant, telling MPs that they were too busy to account when being asked questions about suspected corruption.

Maotwe further called for the unsealing of bank records belonging to the CR17 ANC campaign to see if any of those who funded Ramaphosa's campaign for party presidency benefited from the Covid-19 looting.

The IFPs Mkhuleko Hlengwa also criticised the ruling ANC, and further called for the review of the Disaster Management Act, the law which allowed for the number of institutions, including parliament, to be brought to a standstill because of the lockdown.

“It is important for our country that the looted funds be recovered and that the responsible people be tried criminally,” said Hlengwa.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe called for harsher sentences for those found guilty, suggesting that their cases should be treated like attempted murder.

Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu, however, came to the defence of his party, saying law enforcement agencies would do their jobs.

“We have law enforcement agencies in this country and indeed we will not interfere with their work. They have the responsibility and the mandate to arrest anybody and everybody who involves himself or herself in corruption. That is the stance of the ANC, it will not change,” said Mthembu.

He said the ANC would not stand in the way of law-enforcement agencies doing their work but he slammed those who were involved in corruption around Covid-19 procurement.

Mthembu said significant progress was being made to ensure that every cent stolen from the government was recovered.