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Corruption complicates South Africa’s struggle with coronavirus

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country is approaching 500,000.

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Ribbons tired onto the fence to represent South Africans who have died from Covid-19, at St James Presbyterian church in Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Ribbons tired onto the fence to represent South Africans who have died from Covid-19, at St James Presbyterian church in Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Ribbons tired onto the fence to represent South Africans who have died from Covid-19, at St James Presbyterian church in Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

South Africa’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases is edging close to a half-million, with the Health Ministry reporting 11,046 new cases overnight.

That brings the country’s caseload to 482,169, including 7,812 deaths.

Corruption in the country’s pandemic response is also a growing problem.

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Funeral home workers in protective suits carry the coffin of a woman who died from Covid-19 into a hearse in Katlehong, near Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Funeral home workers in protective suits carry the coffin of a woman who died from Covid-19 into a hearse in Katlehong, near Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

AP/PA Images

Funeral home workers in protective suits carry the coffin of a woman who died from Covid-19 into a hearse in Katlehong, near Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

On Thursday, the health minister in the country’s epicentre of Gauteng province was forced to step down over corruption allegations related to government contracts for Covid-19 personal protective equipment.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that now, more than ever, South Africa’s persistent problem with widespread corruption is endangering people’s lives.

South Africa makes up well over half the cases on the African continent and has the world’s fifth highest virus caseload.

PA