Editorial: Shame on you for looting state coffers

Johannesburg- Revelations this week that former health minister Zweli Mkhize’s associates blew almost a million rand on extravagant shopping sprees and luxurious home upgrades, at a time when the country was going through a devastating second wave of Covid-19, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

Daily Maverick reported this week how part of the R150-million paid to Digital Vibes was splurged on luxury items by the company’s director Tahera Mather, reputed to be Mkhize’s comrade and close associate. The money was supposed to have been used for communications campaigns around the Covid-19 pandemic.

The extent to which funds meant to spread information about Covid-19 was spent is obscene. About R90 000 was spent at a Gucci shop, a month-long holiday in Turkey was taken, expensive renovations to Mather’s house, as well as expensive Smeg kitchen appliances, were part of the spending spree by the owner of Digital Vibes.

She apparently also paid municipal bills and private security company to look after her property and bought groceries. While the special investigating unit (SIU) is trying to recoup some of the money that was looted, we are disappointed that the main culprits are yet to be made to fully account for their shameful deeds. Ordinary people cannot be faulted for thinking that the law appears to be lenient in cases in which people who are close to power are involved.

Otherwise, how does the SIU explain why the main culprits have still not been brought to book despite massive evidence of corruption in the Digital Vibes scandal. We have yet to see any prosecutions of many others who benefited in the massive looting of state resources in the awarding of personal protective equipment tenders. What a shame.

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