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How South Africa Squandered Millions in over a 100 Days of Lockdown

South Africa’s government spent almost half of the 147.4 billion rand ($8.8 billion) in direct funds allocated for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by the end of July, money the country’s Auditor-General says landed in a “weak control environment.” The first audit report on the financial management of the government’s virus response comes as a graft scandal related to the procurement of personal protective and medical equipment engulfs the nation. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 500 billion-rand support package to offset the damage wrought by the virus and direct resources to the country’s health response in April. That included 310 billion rand of mostly indirect relief through tax measures, income protection and loan guarantees, and 190 billion rand in direct funds. The National Treasury allocated 145 billion rand in an emergency budget tabled in June and will make provisions for the remaining 45 billion rand in next month’s medium-term spending framework.