Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku and wife take leave of absence over controversial R125m PPE scandal
Johannesburg - Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife, Loyiso, have taken leave of absence after being linked to a controversial R125 million personal protective equipment scandal.
Loyiso is the City of Johannesburg’s MMC for Group Corporate and Shared Services.
Their leave of absence comes after the Gauteng Health Department awarded Amabhaca King Madzikane Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, the tender to provide PPE to the province.
Their leave of absence is expected to last between two to four weeks, while the Masukus, along with Gauteng ANC PEC member Khusela Diko, have to appear before the party’s provincial integrity commission.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Dikos said they “deeply regret the error of judgement that led Royal Bhaca to seek to do business with the department in the first place”.
The decision to place the Masukus on leave was announced on Thursday at a press conference held by the leadership of the ANC in Gauteng.
The Sunday Independent had reported two weeks ago that Diko’s Royal Bhaca scored two contracts worth R47m and R78m, respectively, for the supply and delivery of PPEs to the department.
Royal Bhaca’s contracts were part of R2.2bn PPE tenders awarded to 75 companies by the Gauteng Health Department since March 30, 2020.
ANC provincial secretary Jacob Khawe said the provincial integrity commission was expected to conclude its work within a two- to four-week period.
Khawe said since Khusela Diko had taken leave of absence, they concluded the Masukus should too.
“We took this decision in the interest of clean governance. We took this decision as a fair process that would allow everyone an opportunity to present their case,” he said.
Khawe said subjecting the three to the integrity commission did not mean the ANC was pronouncing guilt on them.
“The objective reality is that we are losing trust among our people to deal with corruption,” he said.
He said the ANC in Gauteng respected the concerns that had been raised by members of the public and said the members had to put their individual interests aside in the interest of the ANC.
"The ANC brand is bigger than everyone and we must say to the people of Gauteng that there are instances where we have not acted with necessary speed.
“We should understand that it is always good to give people an opportunity to explain themselves. Once a determination is made, this PEC has always been consistent about how we deal with issues,” said Khawe.
The ANC Gauteng also called on the Special Investigating Unit to conclude its work speedily.