Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has announced that her office has launched various investigations related to COVID-19.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Office of the Public Protector said this comes after the institution was inundated by complaints of suspected misconduct and service delivery failure in the last four months.

“Service failure allegations account for a lion’s share of the grievances, with as many as 450 people having approached the office to complain about what they deem unreasonable grounds for declining their applications for a R350-a-month special social relief of distress grant,” the office said in the statement.

For those who lost employment during the pandemic, government announced the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme, which is to be dispersed through the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The grants were among several interventions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March in an effort to soften the impact of the virus on society.

“In most cases, the complainants either allege that they were not provided with reasons as to why their applications were unsuccessful or that the applications were declined on the basis that the applicants were found to be recipients of some form of income or that they qualified for UIF, which they disputed,” the Public Protector said.

Mkhwebane’s office has also began investigations into alleged maladministration and irregularities on the procurement processes relating to the R37 million Beitbridge Border Post Fence as well as the R30 million Gauteng e-Government Information Technology tender.