Flash Briefing: Scopa to probe Ramaphosa; NPA unable to handle PPE corruption, state capture caseload; OUTA takes on SANRAL

  • The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) is conducting its own probe into public fund misappropriation allegations against the ANC, which surfaced in a leaked audio recording, even though the matter has already been referred to the Public Protector. The committee believes that the comments only reflect a part of the discussion that was captured in the clip and that the publicly available portion has far-reaching implications. On Tuesday evening, the committee resolved that it was necessary for the committee to conduct its own probe. In the clip, someone who sounds like President Cyril Ramaphosa can be heard admitting that he was aware that the party used public funds for party purposes. The person suggested that the funds came from the State Security Agency (SSA). Scopa will first ascertain the authenticity of the recording and whether it was indeed Ramaphosa’s voice. In the next few days, it will write to the president and demand a written statement or affidavit on the clip’s authenticity. 
  • Legal experts warn that the National Prosecuting Authority does not have the capacity to deal with all the PPE corruption cases coming its way, given that it is already struggling with the caseload related to state capture. The Special Investigation Unit has published its final report on Covid-19 PPE corruption, finding that 68% of the government contracts it investigated were irregular. 386 people had been referred to the NPA for prosecution following the investigations. Accountability Now director advocate Paul Hoffman says that the NPA lacks capacity, and this is a failing of parliament, which, he says, has not been serious about its anti-corruption stance.
  • Civil action group Outa has initiated contempt of court proceedings against roads agency Sanral and its former CEO. Outa won a court order in November 2021 for the roads agency to supply it with information around tolling operations on key routes. However, Sanral has failed to provide these. The agency said it intended on challenging the court order but missed the deadline and the extended deadline to submit papers. Outa said that Sanral was trying to delay the process but has to date not given any reason for the hold-up – it is now approaching the courts to force it into action and said it would pursue the matter to finality.
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