At the beginning of September the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) released its first special report on the management of funds set aside for government’s Covid-19 response. The fiscal relief package was funded reprioritising the 2020-21 budgets and by securing loans.
Although, regrettably, the nation fully expected gross misuse and irregularities, the sheer scale of the greed, callousness, and corruption was still a shock. The audit, undertaken in real-time, covered 16 of the key Covid-19 initiatives introduced by government and the management of R147-billion of the funds made available.
The report, which is now available, flagged many deficiencies in the supply chain processes. These, said Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu at the presentation of the report, were “amplified by the introduction of the emergency procurement processes allowed for personal protective equipment”.
Makwetu said the audit has revealed “clear signs of overpricing, unfair processes, potential fraud as well as supply chain management legislation being sidestepped. In addition, delays in the delivery of personal protective equipment and quality concerns could have been avoided through better planning and management of suppliers.”
Some of the outrageous findings included:
- UIF payments to Individuals below the legal age of employment of 15 years – a total of R224 677 was paid for 53 applications;
- A claim of R4 027 was paid to an individual who has the same identity number as a UIF employee;
- Individuals who were deceased according to the Home Affairs database received TERS benefits totalling R441 144;
- A total amount of R169 900 was paid to individuals who were in prison according to the Department of Correctional Services database;
- A total of 4 161 payments amounting to R30-million was made to individuals with invalid identity numbers when checked against the Department of Home Affairs database;
- The UIF paid R141-million to 35 043 applicants who received benefits from other state institutions (including remuneration in some instances);
- Four applicants with the same banking details as UIF employees were paid R14 614;
- Twelve individuals who shared the same banking details were paid R53 971.
For full revelations, download and read the report.