Thought Leadership

Greed of the wasted decade still finds fertile ground

28/07/2020 | By Busiswe Mavuso

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we knew it would test the strength of this democracy. We all hoped the threat to the lives of ordinary South Africans would ensure everyone focused on the greater good rather than on personal enrichment, particularly with the war chest dedicated to the health effort. That was wishful thinking.

It’s with great disappointment that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation last week was focused on growing corruption in funds dedicated to our war against Covid-19. The pandemic has already taken about 6,800 lives over the past four months — an average of 57 people a day, and that’s just the official count, not taking into consideration the 17,000 “extra natural deaths” reported last week.

Despite this painful reality, the greed of the “wasted nine years” still finds fertile ground to spread like the cancer it is in our society. This further undermines the social compact that we’ve tried to foster at every turn as we deal with Covid-19 and imagine a world after it has passed.

The president promised to crack down on corruption and the mismanagement of Covid-19 relief funds, saying the consequences would be “severe” for those found guilty. A co-ordinating centre has been established to strengthen law enforcement efforts to investigate corruption in social relief grants, procurement of personal protective equipment and distribution of food parcels.