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Govt’s R500bn COVID-19 relief fund has not all been looted, says Treasury

Treasury officials on Tuesday briefed Parliament’s standing committee on appropriations on procurement to counter the pandemic.

Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane at an inter-ministerial briefing on the coronavirus on 24 March 2020. Picture: @TreasuryRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The National Treasury on Tuesday said public perceptions that the government’s R500 billion COVID-19 relief package has all been looted was incorrect.

Treasury officials on Tuesday briefed Parliament’s standing committee on appropriations on procurement to counter the pandemic.

They also revealed that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), South African Post Office and the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) have all asked for funds to help them deal with the economic impact of the lockdown.

Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane said public perceptions of rampant misappropriation of COVID relief funds are incorrect: “We tend sometimes to keep information that the public should be aware of. R500 billion was not chowed, or stolen, in the way the perception out there is. We can break it down; we can explain the details of it.”

The supplementary budget review in June proposed R145 billion for the COVID-19 relief package, of which R122.4 billion was allocated. To date, national and provincial departments and entities have recorded spending of only R18 billion.

However, Treasury’s Estelle Setan cautioned that this could be a significant underestimate as some information is still outstanding.

Meanwhile, the South Africa Post Office has asked for R4.9 billion in financial support, the SABC wants E1.5 billion and Acsa has requested a government guarantee for 3.5 billion.

These requests will be dealt with in the adjustment budget that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will table in October when he delivers his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.

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