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Crooked people will always find a way, says Ramaphosa on PPE corruption

He said in spite of their best efforts, some linked to the governing party threw away the rule book when it came to acquiring PPEs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on 11 January 2021. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended measures put in place to curb corruption during the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramaphosa has blamed the looting of state resources on crooks who exploited loopholes.

The president spoke to Eyewitness News on Wednesday on a range of issues following the African National Congress's January 8 Statement.

He said in spite of their best efforts, some linked to the governing party threw away the rule book when it came to acquiring PPEs.

“When you deal with crooked people, they find all manner of ways and loopholes in which they are able to crook the system.”

He said while previous measures were not enough, more was being done now to prevent graft as government embarked on a mass vaccine roll out plan.

Ramaphosa said government would be the main acquirer of vaccines.

“Working together with the private sector, we’re going to be able to do the funding as well as the payments. The sourcing is going to be better managed.”

He said investigations into the PPE corruption were under way, with some of the guilty already out of the government system.

WATCH: President Ramaphosa speaks to us

While he has admitted there is no money for relief packages, he said government would do everything in its power to fund the acquisition and roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Government has set an ambitious target of vaccinating 40 million people by December this year.

He said while money was not an issue, he was worried about the pace and time frame of delivery.

There have been questions about government’s ability to acquire and roll out the vaccines desperately needed to give the country a fighting chance against the deadly pandemic.

The massive vaccination campaign is expected to cost millions, while there is barely nothing left in the fiscus.

But the president said not to worry, he labelled the bid to bring vaccines into the country as a game changer in the battle against COVID-19.

He said government would deliver on its promises.

“There can never be any talk that we don’t have money for vaccines to save the lives of our people. Money is going to be there and Treasury is going to make sure that money is there.”

READ: Ramaphosa: Treasury will make sure money is available for COVID-19 vaccine

While still short on details of when all the 20 million doses of vaccines he promised would reach our shores, Ramaphosa explained where the vaccines will come from.

“It’s coming from various suppliers. From the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and part of it will come from Johnson & Johnson.”

He admitted that inoculating more than 100,000 people a day is ambitious, he committed his government to doing its best.

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