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Makhura waiting for SIU report to decide on health MEC's fate

01 October 2020 - 15:41 By aphiwe deklerk
Gauteng premier David Makhura is waiting on a report from the Special Investigative Unit.
Gauteng premier David Makhura is waiting on a report from the Special Investigative Unit.
Image: File / Moeletsi Mabe

The future of Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku may be decided this week when premier David Makhura receives a report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders.

Masuku is now on leave pending the SIU investigation and another process of the provincial integrity committee of the ANC.

He is embroiled in a multimillion-rand tender scandal for procurement of PPE, which also involves spokesperson to president Cyril Ramaphosa, Khusela Diko, and her husband Thandisizwe Diko. Masuku and his wife Loyiso are friends with the Dikos.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Makhura said he had extended Masuku's leave in anticipation of the SIU report this week.

“I have extended the leave of the MEC pending the SIU report, so when they bring me this update, I am interested if there are things that have to do with any action or not that pertain to the MEC. So I am waiting for that final report from the SIU,” said Makhura.

He said his government wanted to make sure that everyone was held accountable for the alleged looting of the PPE money.

“Every update report I get from the Special Investigating Unit where it identifies the area of authority by me, the premier, or area of authority by a member of executive council or a senior official/accounting officer, we will make sure that action is taken,” said Makhura.

In the same briefing, Makhura revealed that another senior official in Masuku's department was in hot water over the personal protective equipment looting.

A deputy director-general (DDG) in the department has been suspended after a report of the SIU was shared with Makhura.

This comes after Makhura on Wednesday suspended the head of department of health, Prof Mkhululi Lukhele, on the basis of the same report. 

His suspension was due to his alleged failure to exercise his responsibilities in the awarding of contracts to certain companies for procurement related to goods and services which were part of the province's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Makhura revealed that the DDG, who he did not name, was suspended and would face disciplinary action.

“In the same report, they also identified another senior official who needed to also be suspended. I can say that a DDG in the department of health was suspended immediately by the acting HOD ... as we speak, on the basis of the latest report - two officials,” said Makhura.

He said the report had identified things that they should be accountable for and a disciplinary process for the two was under way.

He said based on the work done by the SIU, 61 companies have had their bank accounts frozen and are facing legal action for their role in the PPE tender scandal.