Health workers in South Africa protested on Wednesday against lacking protective gear and low salaries as a scathing report revealed the country’s COVID-19 relief fund was misused.
Kimi Makwetu, the auditor general, said there was overpricing and potential fraud. In some cases, protective gear, or PPE, was bought for five times more than the price advised by the national treasury.
“There are fewer people who are able to monitor and supervise transactions, others who know best take the opportunity,” said Makwetu.
The funds were supposed to procure PPE, help vulnerable households with food parcels, unemployment grants and support small businesses and farmers.
It comes as a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who vowed to tackle graft left over by his predecessor Jacob Zuma.
South Africa has the most coronavirus cases in Africa and is the sixth-worst hit country in the world.
As of September 2, South Africa has 628 259 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 14 263 deaths, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.