Covid-19 Corruption and Malfeasance

Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on countries around the world including South Africa. The virus has taken the lives of millions and will continue to be a major obstacle affecting the livelihoods of the global population.

In order to combat the spread of the virus and save lives, the South African government initially declared a National State of Disaster and announced a national lockdown on 23 March 2020. This was followed by the relaxing of National Treasury procurement regulations (known as Practice Note 3 of 2020/2021). The objective of this was to expedite an emergency response to the pandemic particularly the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The relaxing of procurement regulation has led to widespread corruption across the country. The Director-General of the World-Health Organisation (WHO) has described the Covid-19 corruption in South Africa as “tantamount to murder”. 

We compiled a list of known corruption and malfeasance during the covid-19 pandemic and serves as a point of reference. All cases included stem from information which is already in the public domain and have been referenced accordingly.

Download the list here
Below are some of what can be found in our Covid-19 Corruption and Malfeasance Report.

Gauteng Education Department

It is reported that the Gauteng Education Department spent over R400-million over a period of three months on “deep cleaning” and “decontamination” of schools in the province. Additionally, the report compiled by the Infrastructure Management Directorate in the GDE found that very few of the service providers listed in the report appear to have any experience in disinfecting. The GDE MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has since started engaging law enforcement officials to ensure a thorough investigation into the matter.

Eastern Cape Health Department

As a result of the pandemic the Easterm Cape Health Department undertook a scooter project in order to transport Covid-19 patients.  Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the scooters which were purchased did not meet the basic requirements for patient transport as an ambulance. The project cost was R10.1 Million.


Western Cape Education Department

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has launched an investigation into the Western Cape Education Department’s Covid-19 procurement process, after one company was awarded a contract worth R111.8-million to supply PPE.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Lotteries Commission attempted to side-step requests for it to disclose its beneficiaries of its R150-million Covid-19 relief fund. The list of beneficiaries have not been published for months, which prompted the DA to make a PAIA application for the disclosure of its beneficiaries.

The Department of Public Works’ R40-million Beitbridge border fence extension has been riddled with corruption. The upgrade to the border fence was hastily commissioned in March 2020 in response to the country’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Former Chief Financial Officer of the Agriculture Department, Jacob Basil  Hlatshwayo has had his pension benefits frozen. An order was granted by the Special Tribunal in favour of the SIU who made the application. This comes after an SIU investigation into the alleged irregular awarding of a PPE contract to a company by the department.

Click image below for full list.