SA must now face corruption and second wave threat, warns business lobby

17th September 2020 By: News24Wire

SA must now face corruption and second wave threat, warns business lobby

B4SA co-chair Martin Kingston
Photo by: Creamer Media

Business 4 South Africa’s (B4SA's) co-chair Martin Kingston joined President Cyril Ramaphosa's calls for the country to remain vigilant against Covid-19, as well as corruption within state procurement aimed at responding to the pandemic, as South Africa further lifts restrictions.

Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday evening that as from 20 September, South Africa would shift to alert Level 1 of its national lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Under this level of lockdown, more service-based industries will have restrictions lifted and limited international travel will be permitted.

In a statement released by B4SA on Thursday morning, Kingston said the contribution of healthcare workers showed that if South Africans work together in a crisis for a common cause, the country can overcome uncertainty and challenges.

"B4SA is now making a call for all South Africans to play their part in the economic recovery now so desperately needed. We must all ask ourselves how each one of us can contribute to the rebuilding of our economy by supporting relevant areas in the plan," Kingston said.

Kingston said as the country began its journey to economic recovery following the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown, it was vital that South Africans continue to be vigilant to prevent a second spike in deaths as seen in other countries.

"It is critically important that we guard against a resurgent second wave. This can only be achieved by adhering to the now well-known imperatives of continuing to wear masks, maintaining safe distances from other people and washing hands or using hand sanitiser regularly," said Kingston.

Kingston also had stern words for the corruption found in the procurement of goods and services aimed at giving government capacity to respond to the pandemic. He said this undermined South Africa's ability to deliver an inclusive, long-term and successful economic recovery.

"We are making an urgent call for all parties in South Africa to immediately cease all forms of fraud, crime and corruption as these will certainly obstruct the success of the agreed priority focus areas requiring urgent action," he said.

On Wednesday evening Ramaphosa said he had received the first interim report from the Special Investigating Unit, on the progress in investigations related to the misuse of Covid-19 funds.

He said the SIU is working alongside eight other agencies at the Covid-19 fusion centre who are detecting, investigating and prosecuting "any instances of corruption".

Ramaphosa also said that while many of the remaining restrictions on economic activity would be eased, it would still be some time before it was safe for all sectors to return to full operation.