Makhura calls for SIU to investigate claims of PPE corruption in his office
Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura wants the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate claims that his office was allegedly responsible for selecting individuals and companies who were illegally given tenders to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to the government.
Premier Makhura’s call came after the DA claimed that he was personally implicated in the saga.
The DA said that Makhura was implicated by a former provincial health chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya – who resigned in May last year – following reports of tender fraud during her tenure as head of the Bid Adjudication Committee.
While the DA claims Makhura is involved, Lehloenya, in her affidavit, made no direct reference to Makhura in his capacity as provincial head of government.
In her affidavit about those who were awarded the tenders, Lehloenya said: “Those suppliers provided their contacts at multiple levels. Some came directly to me. Others came through the HOD (Professor Mkhululi Lukhele, who has since resigned). Some came from the office of the MEC (former MEC Dr Bandile Masuku) and others from the office of the premier. Yet still there were others from other employees within the GDOH (Gautent Department of Health) and outside.”
Lehloenya made the affidavit in her failed bid to stop the SIU from freezing her pension, but the tribunal ruled against her.
In the judgment, handed out on December 10, the judge found that Lehloenya said the premier, former Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and former HOD Lukhele had allegedly given her instructions to award PPE tenders to companies of their choice.
The judgment prompted DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga to ask the Hawks to investigate Makhura on Thursday.
In reply, Makhura’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, said Makhura – who is still denying any involvement – wants the SIU to investigate the claims. Mhaga also said that the premier was obtaining legal advice to expunge his name in the December 10 judgment.
Now, the DA says: “Following the recent revelations by the former Gauteng Health Department chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya, that Premier Makhura gave her the names of the companies to appoint to supply and deliver PPE in the province, there is an urgent need for action to be taken against Premier Makhura.”
The following are some of the corruption scandals that have happened while the people of Gauteng suffer under the Covid pandemic:
* R2.2 billion was spent by the Gauteng Department of Health on fishy PPE suppliers in three months last year. The department paid inflated prices above the National Treasury’s regulated PPE price list and the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khuselo Diko, reportedly scored part of this contract to supply PPE for the Covid-19 pandemic.
* Premier Makhura has been implicated in the Gauteng Department of Health PPE scandals by the former Gauteng Health Department chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya who stated in her affidavit to the special tribunal that Premier Makhura gave her the names of the companies to appoint to supply and deliver PPE in the province.
* AngloGold Ashanti Hospital on the far West Rand received R500 million worth of funding to equip it with extra beds and facilities to treat Covid-19 patients. The wards are still incomplete and are under construction. The completed areas have no equipment and there is no indication that the hospital will be ready for use any time soon.
* Msimanga said the Gauteng Department of Education has also spent more than R431 million on sanitising schools in three months between June and August last year.
“It is critical now more than ever that the standard that was set with the dismissal of MEC Masuku is also applied to Premier Makhura and that Premier Makhura is investigated to determine the extent of his involvement in these corruption scandals.
“As the premier of Gauteng, Makhura has failed in his oversight duty to safeguard our coffers and he must be held accountable for failing to prevent corruption in this province,” he said.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase meanwhile confirmed that the DA had lodged a complaint with their office.
“The matter is receiving our attention and we will give them feedback in due course,” Nkwalase said.
He, however, said ordinary such cases should have been opened a criminal case at a police station if they have evidence to support a charge of corruption.