A number of hard lessons learned from PPE corruption probe, admits Ramaphosa

President Ramaphosa said that what he found 'most disturbing' was 'the wilful intent to commit fraud' at a time when the country was scrambling to procure emergency PPE to protect people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on 1 February 2021 on government's latest efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the country had grown too accustomed to hearing stories about corruption and he admitted that nothing could have prepared the country for the lengths that some had gone to in order to steal.

In his weekly newsletter, the president reflected on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)'s report into the procurement of emergency protective personal equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.

READ: SIU says officials implicated in PPE corruption will be punished

He acknowledged that the details of the report were disturbing but he also said they were encouraging in that they showed that unlawful acts were being uncovered.

Ramaphosa said that what he found "most disturbing" was "the wilful intent to commit fraud" at a time when the country was scrambling to procure emergency PPE to protect people.

PPE suppliers used different front companies to obtain multiple contracts from the Health Department, while prices were inflated - in some cases as high as 400%.

Ramaphosa said that all the criminals involved in PPE corruption would be dealt with harshly and appropriately.

The state is trying to recover the money and some specific cases have been referred for prosecution.

Ramaphosa has acknowledged that hard lessons have been learnt in this entire process.

He said that regulatory, legislative and procedural loopholes must be closed to ensure no one could exploit the system in future.

WATCH: SIU Head: PPE tender scandal is unprecedented

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