Masuku abandons appeal against SIU report into dodgy PPE procurement

Former Gauteng health MEC has instead opted to politically challenge his suspension

04 May 2021 - 15:59
Former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku. File image.
Former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku. File image.
Image: THAPELO MOREBUDI

Former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku has abandoned his court bid to challenge a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report that found he had failed to exercise proper oversight to prevent the squandering of millions of rand in PPE tender irregularities.

Masuku has instead opted to politically challenge his suspension as an ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee member through party processes.

Masuku was found to have brought the ANC into disrepute following a Gauteng provincial integrity committee (PIC) report, which found he had failed to conduct oversight in the PPE scandal by the provincial health department when he was MEC. The ANC Gauteng disciplinary committee recommended that Masuku and his co-accused Khusela Diko be barred from participating in official party meetings.

Masuku, though his attorneys, on Tuesday said he had formally lodged an appeal against the Gauteng decision to suspend him with the national disciplinary committee of appeals. He said he was abandoning the legal process as the Pretoria high court had, in dismissing his challenge, conceded that there was no criminal conduct on his part in the Covid-19 PPE scandal.

Under his watch, the department of health in Gauteng awarded multimillion-rand contracts to Royal Bhaca, a company owned by the late Nkosi Madzikane Thandisizwe Diko II, husband of Khusela Diko, the suspended spokesperson of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Dikos and the Masukus are close friends.

“After careful consideration of the judgment and consulting his legal team on further appropriate action, our client has instructed his legal team not to appeal the judgment of the full court,” Masuku said through his attorney Mojalefa Motalane.

“This decision is primarily because the court’s latter findings are unequivocally exculpatory and thus removed all the public doubt that had until recently lingered, on whether Dr Masuku was involved in any Covid-19 procurement corruption and/or irregularities.”

The court found that though Masuku had no case to answer on the corruption allegations, which the SIU conceded, he had failed to discharge his oversight role.

The judgment has, according to Masuku, exonerated him from any allegations of illegality which had tainted his name professionally and in a personal and political capacity, as well as his career.

He said the SIU which he claims was hell-bent on finding him guilty during its investigation “relied on irrelevant legislation and in this regard the court found that ‘some linkages between the MEC’s role and the statutory and regulatory provisions are strained, but they really do not go beyond hyperbole’”.

Masuku is satisfied that the court judgment has done enough to clear his name and would now be appealing his suspension with the ANC’s national disciplinary committee.

“Though the high court review application was a separate process, Dr Masuku is happy and hopeful that such an exoneration by the court will have a positive impact on the internal disciplinary processes of the ANC,” Masuku’s attorney said.

“Dr Masuku has officially lodged an appeal with the national disciplinary committee (NDC) of the ANC with the aim of overturning the ruling of the provincial disciplinary committee which made serious errors of judgment. The NDC is yet to sit and make a ruling.”

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