Corruption Watch, a non-profit organization in South Africa, on Wednesday called on the government to guard against abuse of the R500 billion (26 billion U.S. dollars) funds meant to assist the deserving people.
Corruption Watch was commenting on the stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to mitigate against the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It welcomed the package but want the government to keep a hawkish eye on corrupt officials who might abuse the funds.
“While our current circumstances may call for these enhanced powers, this demands increased transparency, vigilance and accountability, particularly against the backdrop of the extremely high levels of corruption that have characterized South African public life for so long,” said David Lewis, Corruption Watch executive director.
He called for great openness and transparency in the distribution of aid to those in most need while urged government to put measures in place to mitigate and reduce opportunities of corruption.
“While the South African government has been widely praised, and deservedly so, for the urgent, honest and science-based response to the virus, it must be candidly recognized that the extension of increased powers to the law enforcement community, procurement officials and elected representatives is open to abuse, and that this has proved to be the case,” said Lewis.
He pointed out that the law enforcement agents should exercise restraint and respect people’s rights while enforcing lock down.
There have been reports of abuse with the army and police officials facing criminal charges for killing civilians while enforcing lockdown. Enditem