South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party would closely guard against corruption in the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines expected in the country in January, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned on Saturday.Ramaphosa, who is the ANC president, was responding to corruption queries that occurred in relation to personal protection equipment (PPE) procurement in the country at the onset of the pandemic early last year, in which several people were caught with alleged corrupt tenders to supply the PPE to provincial governments.
Among those accused in the alleged corrupt PPE tenders were the then Gauteng Provincial Health Minister, Bandile Masuku, and former presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko, who resigned after the accusations came to light that her husband had also benefitted in a PPE supply tender.
Ramaphosa said alleged corruption tenders in PPE sales and distribution tenders were not unique to South Africa alone.
“Let me say, without trying to shield our own position, the personal protective equipment issue has not only been a problem that is unique to South Africa.
“But they also have had the same problem in many other countries where corruption and fraud have been the order of the day,” the president said.
He added: “Even in…more developed economies, I was reading a report the other day, that even in Britain they had fraud and corruption” issues in the provision of PPE.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from India would be rolled out this January.
The minister said an additional 500,000 vaccines would be received in February as part of the country’s efforts to stop the surging pandemic.
The disease has left the country’s hospital beds completely full with Covid patients – leaving the sick without beds to wait in hospital chairs for other patients to die in order to find bed space to occupy, one exhausted health worker told the press.