By Kaya 959 Reporter
The Gauteng Provincial Government has been accused of hiding behind the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and refusing to disclose how much was spent on buying Personal Protective Equipment since the start of COVID in South Africa.
In an oral reply to questions put forward by the DA, MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko claimed that the reports on COVID-19 expenditure for February and March have not yet been made public due to the year-end process.
Nkomo-Ralehoko said the outstanding reports will be published after the audit closure which was due by the end of August 2021.
DA spokesperson on Finance and e-Government, Adriana Randall, said by not publishing regular COVID-19 expenditure reports, it would appear as if the Gauteng Provincial Government is flouting National Treasury Note 20 that was published last year.
Randall said the GPG were using the POPIA as a flimsy excuse, claiming that they cannot name the suppliers unless they have been given permission to do so – thereby denying residents the right to know what was done with public funds.
“The GPG has a responsibility to spend our taxpayers’ money in a transparent and responsible manner. It is important now more than ever that the government spends their scarce financial resources in a proper manner, especially now that our economy has been hard hit by COVID-19,” she said.
Randall said in the DA-governed Western Cape, expenditure reports are regularly published.
“This is what a responsible government would do. The DA will continue to demand that these Covid-19 expenditure reports are made public so that taxpayers can know exactly where and on what their money has been spent,” Randall said.
The country’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in KwaZulu-Natal in March 2020.
Government departments then put out tenders for the supply of PPE, however, by March 2021, the Special Investigating Unit confirmed at least 34 complaints of dodgy tenders or PPE-related corruption.