Probe the Selection of Political Elites as Beneficiaries of a Scheme to Rescue SMEs and Informal Traders from Loss of Income Due to the National Covid-19 Lockdown

The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) is deeply concerned that the Scheme initiated by the government through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, and SME Development in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare is not only beset by corruption but has largely been politicised. Events unfolding in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe have seen well-up individuals, including well-established business persons and Senators being among the beneficiaries. Against this background is the observation that the majority of the informal traders who needed the support most have been left out in the cold.

Mr. Obert Chinhamo, the Director of ACT-SA called upon relevant authorities to intervene and take corrective action.

“We started sensing chicanery when some political parties were seen running around collecting names of beneficiaries. It’s clear that they submitted the names of their members. Our country never learns. The same happens to the Youth Fund that was looted by the political elite. But we are shocked that some rich individuals want to grab RTGS300 meant to benefit the vulnerable” he says.

Mr. Chinhamo added that the Department of Social Welfare must publish a list of beneficiaries to restore public confidence.

“The majority of Zimbabweans have lost confidence in some government institutions that appear to have been captured by political parties. I strongly urge the Department of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Women Affairs responsible for SME development to revisit the list of beneficiaries and ensure that the most vulnerable informal traders who lost income for subsistence due to the lockdown benefit. The list of beneficiaries should also be made public” he adds.

The scheme was introduced after realising that informal traders such as vendors lost income for subsistence due to the national lockdown. Initially, the government promised to pay RTGS200 but this was increased to RTGS300. It is this amount of money that the elite, including Senators, are allegedly grabbing.

Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)