The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is taking a stand against Covid-19 corruption and has urged SA to show solidarity by wearing orange face masks on Friday.
Over the past few months, Covid-19 corruption has been making headlines, mainly focusing on personal protective equipment (PPE) scandals. Along with ordinary South Africans, Corruption Watch has been following the increasing dismay the growing number of reports of corruption related to Covid-19 Pandemic.
Back in March Corruption Watch warned of the vulnerabilities in the emergency procurement measures, noting that the R500-billion stimulus package presented an opportunity for greedy officials to misuse the equipment.
The foundation, in collaboration with 62 other organisations including Corruption Watch, has called on South Africans to demonstrate their anger about Covid-19 corruption by donning orange masks every Friday until December 9, which is marked as International Anti-Corruption Day.
According to the organisation, the colour symbolises the orange overalls Covid-19 looters should be wearing in prison. By wearing the orange masks, the foundation said, people will effectively be telling the government and the private sector that they value SA’s democracy and constitution.
“The Orange Mask Fridays campaign forms part of a broad societal effort to stop Covid-19 corruption. The campaign is being driven by civil society organisations in response to widespread reports of looting of funds meant to address the coronavirus,” said the foundation.
“We refuse to sit by idly watching as greedy business ‘covidpreneurs’, politicians and public servants steal money that is meant to save lives during the pandemic,” the foundation said. “We will not allow frontline health workers to be put in danger because someone has stolen money or inflated prices for PPE. We will not allow food parcels meant for the poor to be used as bargaining chips to secure local fiefdoms,” said Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
On the other hand, the foundation also indirectly opposed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to take part in the Jerusalema dance challenge, saying it will not celebrate a “growing culture of corruption that is becoming endemic within the public and private sector”.