Midlands politicians feast on Covid-19 vendors allowance

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By Staff Reporter

THE Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) has accused political elites in Kwekwe of looting government’s Covid-19 allowances meant for small scale traders.

In a statement, Act-SA director Obert Chinhamo said his organisation was concerned the package did not benefit the intended beneficiaries.

“Act-SA is deeply concerned that the rescue package meant to cushion the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the Informal sector against loss due to the national Covid-19 lockdown has been hijacked and looted by the political elite and civil servants in Kwekwe and Redcliff,” Chinhamo said.

He said the list being used by the Department of Social Welfare in Kwekwe was littered with undeserving beneficiaries.

According to Act-SA, the list, “includes a senator, high ranking politicians at district and provincial levels, teachers, nurses and other civil servants”.

Said the group, “On the other side, deserving names submitted by the Kwekwe Vendors Association and the Kwekwe Business Association of the Small to Medium Enterprises Trust were disregarded.”

Chinhamo called for an investigation into the scandal and appropriate action taken against the culprits.

“The looting of the fund for SMEs and the informal sector is shocking. I just don’t know when all this madness will be stopped in Zimbabwe.

“Almost all similar funds are looted. We are shameless. This issue must be investigated and appropriate action taken against the culprits,” he said.

Government introduced a raft of measures to mitigate against suffering due to the national Covid-19 lockdown.

One of the measures was to give assistance to SMEs and the informal sector with funds to cushion them against losses associated with the lockdown period.

In keeping with the pledge, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development requested SME and Informal Sector Associations to submit names of possible beneficiaries.

However, in the towns of Kwekwe and Redcliff, political parties were also involved in the compilation of the names of beneficiaries.