Khasipe must stand firm

Khasipe must stand firm

Thabo Khasipe, who heads the National Covid-19 Secretariat (Nacosec), last week painted a grim picture of an institution under siege.

At the centre of the many reported rows appears to be a group of Basotho who are fighting to have a stake in the multi-million tenders to supply equipment to fight Covid-19.

That the individuals are seeking to position themselves for a strike at what appears to be the biggest pot of cash through government tenders is not surprising.

We have always known that we have very unscrupulous individuals in our midst who think they can squeeze cash from the government using their proximity to those in power.

These individuals are prepared to win government tenders through cronyism and outright fraud. In this case, the stakes have never been higher.

The Covid-19 pandemic has spewed a multi-billion maloti industry through the supply of personal protective equipment such as latex gloves, sanitisers, masks and other critical items.

This has now triggered new opportunities for outright thievery. We have seen how unscrupulous individuals, with no sense of shame whatsoever, are inflating prices of PPEs to ridiculous levels.

Instead of being spooked by the mounting cases of infections, deaths as well as the socio-economic devastation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen these vultures circling in for the kill.
They have no shame.

Where others are seeing death, they are seeing an opportunity to loot.
That is why we are saying Khasipe must stand firm and send a clear message that these vultures will be resisted.
We can understand that Khasipe could be frustrated after meeting so much red tape in his efforts to transform the institution.

Others are even beginning to challenge the legality of Nacosec as they see it as an impediment to their plans to loot.
We know that the Nacosec, then known as the National Command Centre, was battered by negative press coverage, and rightfully so.
Now that Nacosec has been rebranded, the institution must be allowed to break with its past so that it can deliver on its mandate.

The Secretariat is probably one of the most important national institutions that we have at the present moment in our battle for survival as a people.
To seek to sabotage Nacosec at this critical juncture is nothing short of treasonous. We would be shooting ourselves in the foot if we sabotage this key institution.

This is not the right time to haggle over the legality of Nacosec. If there are questions about its legality and terms of reference, those issues can be dealt with separately in a parallel process.
Meanwhile, we note the BNP’s call for a forensic audit at Nacosec after its party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane faced a barrage of accusations over how he ran the institution.

Of course ‘Maseribane denies any wrongdoing.
However, in the interests of transparency, ‘Maseribane and the BNP must be prepared to be subjected to a forensic audit to clear his name.
What ‘Maseribane cannot do is to deny that he was in charge at the Nacosec, then known as the National Command Centre, and that the massive looting that triggered a national furore, happened under his watch.

An audit would settle the issue once and for all to establish if there was any corruption or not.
That audit would in fact help establish if ‘Maseribane is a squeaky clean and competent leader.

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