Gauteng ANC tells premier David Makhura to hire new health MEC
The Gauteng ANC has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, and former health MEC Bandile Masuku to step aside while they face disciplinary action.
The party has also called for premier David Makhura to urgently appoint a new health MEC and health head of department.
The party was making an official announcement at a press conference on Thursday after a statement — from which it has distanced itself — was widely circulated on Wednesday night. .
Two weeks ago, Makhura sacked Masuku on the basis of a report of the Special Investigating Unit into personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption in the department of health.
Masuku, his wife Loyiso and Diko appeared before the Gauteng provincial committee after they were implicated in the alleged looting via R125m tenders granted to Royal Bhaca, a company owned by Diko's husband Thandisizwe.
The Masukus and the Dikos are family friends.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, ANC treasurer Parks Tau said the provincial executive committee [PEC] received a report relating to the alleged PPE looting after it had mandated the provincial working committee to amend an earlier report of the integrity commission.
Four former officials at the Gauteng department of health made their first appearance in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court. Their case relates to allegations contained in a SIU report from 2018 which shows alleged financial misconduct and corruption that cost the department more than R1.2bn between 2006 and 2010.
For more than a decade, this department has had persistent structural and institutional weaknesses.Parks Tau
“They welcomed and unanimously supported the decision of the premier David Makhura to release comrade Bandile Masuku from his responsibilities as MEC for health. The meeting further mandated the premier to take all the necessary steps to strengthen and stabilise the department of health both politically and administratively,” said Tau.
“The PEC is concerned that for more than a decade, this department has had persistent structural and institutional weaknesses that have led to some of these problems that we are experiencing, including corruption and maladministration.”
He said the call for the appointment of a new MEC and head of department (HOD) was so that they can lead the battle against Covid-19 and improve the quality of health care in the province.
Tau said though the party has referred Masuku and Diko to the disciplinary committee, there were no formal charges formulated yet.
“The PEC report and a follow-up report by the PWC found that allegations against comrade Loyiso Masuku in relation to her involvement in this regard could not be substantiated. Accordingly, the PEC decided that she should resume her responsibility.
“This decision also takes into account that there are now SIU investigations and should anything be found on all these matters, the PEC will apply its mind and reconsider its decisions based on any new information that is provided,” said Tau.
The move by the ANC could be interpreted as a blow to Makhura who had announced that even though he had released Masuku from his position, he will not fill it and would gladly reappoint him if he is cleared by the SIU.
Two weeks ago the Sunday Times reported that there was a move among Makhura's detractors in the PEC to force him to fill the position despite his stance on the matter.
Speaking in the same media conference, deputy chairperson Panyaza Lesufi said Makhura has requested to meet the top five leaders in the province to discuss the appointment of the new health MEC.