South Africa’s latest scandal involving the abuse in awarding coronavirus pandemic tenders took a new surprising turn on Saturday – with a dead man winning a US$142,000 tender to supply personal protection equipment (PPEs) to the East Cape Province’s health department.Other surprising tender winners to supply PPEs to government were a car wash firm, a bar and a bakery, a senior tax official noted.
According to Odwa Matshaya’s family, they were stunned to see their late relatives’ company appear on a list of 600 firms that won tenders to supply PPE to the Eastern Cape Provincial government.
At the time of his death two years ago, Matshaya owned the 2KS Construction and Projects but on he was awarded the tender to the surprise of his family.
According to the South African Revenue Service, the taxman is investigating 300 companies awarded tenders worth US$118 million and most of them do not pay taxes to government in spite of being awarded state business.
How did a car wash firm, a pub and a bakery have to do with the supplying of PPE to government?
“It’s all kinds of shenanigans that they play. Not declaring income from PPE, even though they get it (business) from the government, they still choose to cheat the government.
“They have outstanding tax returns. They file fraudulent or incorrect returns. They obtain tax certificates by fiddling the system, and they are not registered for VAT,” SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa three weeks ago ordered law enforcement agencies to probe the abuses in the awarding of Covid-19 tenders, and bring to book all culprits involving in the scandals.
With a more than 70-percent backlog in specialised crimes courts, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said 12 more courts will be needed to speed up prosecutions in coronavirus-related corruption.