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Politics

Makhura 'under pressure' to appoint a replacement for Bandile Masuku

11 October 2020 - 00:00 By aphiwe deklerk
Gauteng premier David Makhura's detractors are preparing a strong push to force him to fill the vacancy left by Masuku.
Gauteng premier David Makhura's detractors are preparing a strong push to force him to fill the vacancy left by Masuku.
Image: Daniel Born

Gauteng premier David Makhura is expected to come under pressure from the ANC provincial executive committee to appoint a replacement for former MEC for health Bandile Masuku.

On Friday, Makhura announced he was removing Masuku from his post after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found the MEC failed in his duties over the looting of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) funds. Makhura, however, decided he would leave the post vacant until he gets a final report from the SIU on whether Masuku was involved in collusion and corruption.

The Gauteng ANC was scheduled to hold its provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting today. The Sunday Times understands that Makhura's detractors are preparing a strong push to force him to fill the vacancy left by Masuku.

"How can you fire someone and not replace him? It proves that he didn't want to fire him but bowed to public pressure. He's being populist," said a PEC member who asked not to be named. The member said Makhura removed Masuku because he was pre-empting the PEC meeting. "He didn't want it to be a PEC decision, that is why he did it himself."

Masuku was implicated in the PPE corruption when Royal Bhaca, a company owned by Thandisizwe Diko, husband to President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko, was awarded R125m in tenders. Masuku and his wife, Loyiso, are family friends of the Dikos.

Masuku, a strong ally of Makhura, is challenging the report of the SIU, which was the basis for his sacking. A source close to Masuku said his firing was motivated mostly by public sentiment and not so much by concrete evidence presented by the SIU.

Another insider privy to discussions over the SIU report said Masuku had protested about the findings against him from the outset. "He challenged it but then the premier found himself in a position where he can't be fighting the SIU," the insider said.

He said Makhura was forced to fire Masuku because he had acted previously on SIU reports, which led to former health boss professor Mkhululi Lukhele being suspended, along with former CFO Kabelo Lehloenya and supply chain head Thandy Pino.

Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe rejected suggestions that Makhura fired Masuku as a move to pre-empt today's meeting.

"There is no politics in it," said Masebe.


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