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We didn’t know monies from the COVID-19 relief fund would be stolen - Mabuza

David Mabuza has been fielding questions in the National Council of Provinces, his first appearance in Parliament after a lengthy bout of ill-health.

On Thursday 3 September 2020, Deputy President David Mabuza took questions in the national council of provinces, his first appearance in Parliament after a lengthy bout of ill-health. Picture: @DDMabuza/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President David Mabuza has told Parliament the government did not know that money set aside to combat the COVID-19 pandemic would be stolen.

Mabuza has been fielding questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), his first appearance in Parliament after a lengthy bout of ill-health.

The Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu this week released a damning report detailing the misappropriation of funds intended for COVID-19 relief.

Mabuza was asked by the Economic Freedom Fighters whether it was wise to redirect resources away from much-needed services in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic only for the money to be squandered.

He replied and said: “When we took the decision to redirect resources in order to strengthen our fight against COVID-19, we did that in a way of trying to protect our people and to get the health system to be ready to deal with any eventuality.

“Unfortunately, we never knew that some of these monies would get stolen along the way.”

Mabuza defended the allocation of resources to deal with the pandemic.

“I still insist it was the right decision but we must as government, as a society, as a people, we must uproot these elements within society, within government, that are corrupt because corruption can destroy what is good for the country.”

Mabuza said the pandemic had also shown that corruption was now prevalent in the private as well as the public sector as those who benefitted from tenders included business people.

HOPING ESKOM DIVISION COMPLETED IN TWO YEARS

Mabuza said the government hoped that Eskom’s division into three separate divisions would be completed in two years’ time.

He said restructuring a company of Eskom’s magnitude was not an easy task.

It was his first appearance at Parliament since ill health caused him to miss two oral reply sessions in the National Assembly in July and August and another in the NCOP in July.

The question comes a day after Eskom announced not just stage two, but stage 4 load shedding.

The Deputy President apologised for the continued disruptions in the power supply: “We must apologise for continued disrupt in energy supply, this is because of maintenance challenges, people will understand dealing with a very old fleet and from time to time presents a lot of problems.”

But he said he was confident pressure on the grid would ease as new power stations Medupi and Kusile come fully onstream - Medupi hopefully by the end of the year - as well as independent power producers.

Eskom is being split into separate generation, distribution and transmission entities and members of Parliament wanted to know how long this would take: “Timelines can take up to 2022, hope by that time the rest of the whole entity will be completed – in three entities”

Mabuza has reiterated there’s no intention to privatise Eskom.

WATCH: Deputy President David Mabuza oral replies to NCOP

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