Human Rights Measure

Human Rights
Human Rights

Fighting Corruption during COVID-19

Date Enacted: July 2020
Country: South Africa

In July 2020, President Ramaphosa “announced the establishment of a collaborative and coordinating centre to strengthen the collective efforts among law enforcement agencies so as to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute COVID-related corruption.” As part of this effort, nine state institutions were brought together to investigate “allegations of corruption” on the following issues: “the distribution of food parcels, social relief grants, the procurement of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, and UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) special COVID-19 scheme.” Additional government measures include, among others: the National Treasury’s issuance of regulations “to ensure that emergency procurement of supplies and services meet the constitutional requirements of fairness, transparency, competitiveness and cost effectiveness,” the Competition Commission’s investigation of “over 800 complaints of excessive pricing” including prosecution of or settlements reached “with 28 companies, imposing penalties and fines of over R16 million,” the Auditor-General’s adoption of “special measures to safeguard funds committed to the fight against COVID-19,” and the President’s authorization of the “Special Investigating Unit . . . to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of any goods, works and services during or related to the national state of disaster in any state institution.”