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More than 700 firms being probed for PPE, COVID-19 tender irregularities - SIU

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is leading hundreds of investigations into the procurement of personal protective gear (PPE).

Personal protective equipment (PPE). Picture AFP

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said that more than 700 companies were now being probed for tender irregularities linked to personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts for the R500 billion COVID-19 relief scheme.

These contracts amount to over R7.5 billion.

In Gauteng, the SIU is investigating more than 160 companies.

Among those implicated is presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko's husband and Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago: "We've received a lot of allegations. We're not saying that all of that was illegally done but this is the veil we are looking at the present moment and that shows signs that things are really not the way they are supposed to be."

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that all monies stolen from this fund will be recovered.

MUNICIPAL COOPERATION

Kganyago said that for the most part, municipalities being probed for corruption relating to the country's COVID-19 response were cooperating, except in the case of two Western Cape municipalities.

"We had resistance also from the Matzikama Municipality where we also did a search and seizure and because of that investigation we were following up on some of the suppliers - there were three suppliers - that were part of the investigation at Matzikama," Kganyago explained.

SIU officials recently raided the Cederberg municipal offices in Clanwilliam.

"When we were doing the investigation there [Matzikama], we then followed them and it led us to Cederberg because the same suppliers were doing the same business in Cederberg. We went there wanting to get some information last week but there was some resistance and then we got the search and seizure warrant."

Cederberg Mayor Sylvia Qunta said that the municipality had nothing to hide and would assist the unit where it could.

She's, however, threatening to approach the courts, saying that last week's raid was done without a warrant.

But Kganyago said that they had the right to be there.

"I don't know what she's talking about. She's saying that we came there without confirmation. We're saying which world does she live in because the proclamation allows us to do all the investigations related to PPE and COVID-19 issues was done on the 23rd of July and was allowed by the president at that time."

LISTEN: SIU's Kaizer Kganyago gives update on PPE tender probe

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