ANC Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe.
ANC Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe.

ANC urges SIU to expedite probe of the 102 rogue firms that tried to fleece Gauteng

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jul 31, 2020

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Johannesburg - The ANC in Gauteng has lambasted rogue and fly-by-night companies that tried to fleece billions from the provincial government by demanding to be paid without delivering protective equipment to the Health Department.

This was the outrage expressed by the ANC Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe in his plea to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to speed up its investigation against 102 companies that may have tried to defraud the Gauteng government.

“Allegations that have since surfaced about questionable amounts paid to companies alleged not to have met the minimum requirements to first do business with the government and some scoring contracts to provide personal protective equipment when they are not in the business of medical equipment supply cannot be taken lightly,” Khawe said.

He added his party had rejected the opportunistic behaviour of companies that had never supplied even a pen or any health equipment to the Gauteng Department of Health but suddenly emerged claiming they were owed, saying the provincial government should exercise vigilance and protect the public purse.

Premier David Makhura, despite agreeing with his party’s sentiments, said it would be premature at this stage to name the companies.

Makhura yesterday was adamant that the forensic investigation by the SIU would reveal the rogues to allow all “corrupt individuals to go to jail”.

He vowed to act against all health department officials who masterminded the alleged fraud and corruption.

The premier remained steadfast in his position while facing a barrage of questions about Andile Ramaphosa - the son of President Cyril Ramaphosa - being one of the recipients of the tenders from Gauteng health department.

The questions to Makhura followed reports that Andile’s company was awarded (a) R6million (tender) to supply protective equipment to taxis in the province.

Andile has since denied involvement in the allegations against him.

Makhura said it was premature to give details, but the rot was deep and serious.

According to Makhura, trouble began when the National Treasury issued a circular that the procurement of protective equipment should be centralised in the Gauteng Health Department.

“As a result of the circular, certain officials distributed purchase orders to various companies for them to procure the equipment. It does not mean that the amounts which are reported in the media were actually paid to the companies.

“It became an opportunity for abuse. Their opportunistic behaviour has profoundly eroded the public confidence in the government I lead. It has undermined the tremendous work done by healthcare workers to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” Makhura said.

Despite placing Health MEC Bandile Masuku on special leave for four weeks, Makhura ironically said Masuku and his head of department Dr Mkhululi Lukhele were instrumental in reporting the illegal acts.

He, however, said the Gauteng Treasury alerted him to the abuse of the procurement processes in the department following their preliminary audit report.

Makhura said the Gauteng Audit Services red-flagged several companies that were awarded tenders without being in the government database.

He said its intervention led to the cancellation of all the contracts and his government managed to save R1billion from abuse.

Masuku’s placement on leave, however, followed a Sunday Independent report which stated that he was allegedly involved in the award of a R125m tender to supply protective equipment to Royal Bhaca Project - a year-old company wholly owned by Amabhaca King, Madzikane 11 Thandisizwe Diko - the husband to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko. The Masukus and Dikos are close family friends.

Khawe said the ANC special PEC welcomed Diko’s decision to take leave of absence from her government duties as presidential spokesperson.

He said the ANC further resolved that Masuku should also take leave of absence as MEC and his wife Loyiso Masuku who is deployed as the City of Joburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Group Corporate and Shared Services should also take leave of absence.

“The taking of leave of absence by the three comrades from their official responsibilities is in keeping with the resolutions of the 13th Provincial Conference and the 54th National Conference and is a demonstration of their unwavering commitment to place the ANC and the people of Gauteng first,” Khawe said.

Political Bureau

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