Ramaphosa warns ‘hyenas’ stealing Covid-19 funds

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned of harsh action on “hyenas” who are profiteering from public funds intended for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

His stinging remarks, contained in his weekly newsletter, are aimed at state officials who are accused of taking up government tenders, business people who are inflating prices of supplies of protective gear and local administrators who are stockpiling relief food.

“Attempting to profit from a disaster that is claiming the lives of our people every day is the action of scavengers. It is like a pack of hyenas circling wounded prey,” President Ramaphosa said.

“We are witnessing theft by individuals and companies with no conscience.”

His own spokesperson took a leave of absence last week after her husband was adversely mentioned in connection to tenders in Gauteng’s province health department. The couple deny any wrongdoing.

The president vowed bold actions against those who will be found culpable of misappropriating Covid-19 funds.

“Those found to have broken the law to enrich themselves through this crisis will not get to enjoy their spoils, regardless of who they are or with whom they may be connected,” he said.

South Africa is the hardest-hit on the continent by the pandemic and passed half a million mark of cases over the weekend.