South Africans called on to wear orange masks – here’s why

Picture: Corruption Watch website.

South African are being called on to wear orange face masks on Fridays – to make a stand against corruption.

Organisations such as South Africa First Forum, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Cosatu, the Legal Resources Centre, Corruption Watch and Gandhi Development Trust are asking that South Africans join them in drawing attention to systemic corruption and alleged looting of Covid relief funds, by donning an orange mask.

Anti-corruption organisations, journalists and opposition parties have reported widespread looting and failure to adhere to procurement procedures in the acquisition of Covid-19 related personal protection equipment, infrastructure and related tenders to the value of hundreds of millions. A damning report on this was submitted by the auditor-general. This, as testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry reveals the extent of the rot in the state.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to come down hard on corruption culprits, but there is a trust deficit and he is being called to account by parliament, the opposition and civil society to prove that there will be severe consequences.

A post on the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation website stated:

“We, the undersigned organisations, call on the public to demonstrate their anger against Covid-19 corruption by donning an orange mask every Friday.

“The colour is symbolic of the orange overalls which Covid-19 looters should be wearing in prison.

“The #OrangeMaskFridays campaign forms part of a broad societal effort to stop C19 corruption. The campaign is being driven by civil society organisations in response to widespread reports of looting of funds meant to address the impact of the coronavirus.”

The statement said the campaign was initiated by the Active Citizens Movement, and has already enjoyed success over a number of Fridays, with organisations and activists joining in and demonstrating by wearing orange masks and displaying placards with anti-corruption messages.

Follow SA First forum on Facebook for more info

The organisations are demanding the “full details” of all Covid-19 procurement, presented in a way that provides the unit cost of items and services rendered. “It should include the details of companies that were given contracts, and whether they had any track record of work in that particular field. We also want to know who the directors of these companies are. If companies are found guilty of corruption and price inflation, both the entities and their directors should be prevented from doing any future business with the state.”

So, if you’re unhappy about the situation and want to make your voice heard, here’s your chance to do something about it… don that orange face mask on Fridays.

* Follow #OrangeMaskFridays on Twitter. Like the Facebook page set up to highlight various activities as the campaign unfolds. Organisations can continue endorsing this statement by emailing

Some of the organisations that signed to pledge their support for the campaign include:
Active Citizens Movement
Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
Ansarul Ummahtil Islam
Beit Emanuel Progressive Synagogue
Botsotso Ensemble
Business Ecology
Cala University Students Association
Citizens Against Corruption Forum
Citizens of Conscience
Congress of Business and Economics
Congress of South African Trade Unions
Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre
Corruption Watch
Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution
Dr Xhaka Kholekile Gqwesani SHASHA Foundation
Gandhi Development Trust
Imam Haron Foundation
Inner City CAN Collective
Joburg City Network
Johannesburg Against Injustice
Joe Slovo Foundation
Krishna Rabilal Foundation
Lawyers for Human Rights
Legal Resources Centre
Mediate Works
Merebank Justice Network
Merebank Residents’ Association
Muslim Judicial Council (SA)
Muslim Youth Movement
National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry
National Association of Democratic Lawyers – Durban Branch
National Youth Development League
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse
Patriotic Movement
Phoenix Settlement Trust
Progressive Health Forum
Progressive Tamil Movement
Public Affairs Research Institute
Society for the Promotion of Arabic
South African Communist Party
South African Council of Churches
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute
South African Hindu Maha Sabha
South African Tamil Federation
Survivors of State Capture at the South African Revenue Service
Tamil Federation of Gauteng – West Region
Tamil Business Warriors
The Angel Network
The Fruit Basket
Top Quartile Project Services Africa
Union of Muslim Students – Associations
Uniting Reformed Church – Struisbaai
Uwais Qarni Islamic Centre
Wattville CAN
Windmill Park CAN
70s Group

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