Khusela Diko snubs PPE tender graft probe
Johannesburg - The ANC in Gauteng finds itself in a precarious position over the future of the province’s Health MEC Bandile Masuku and Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko following Diko’s alleged refusal to cooperate with the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigations.
The party is set to hold its special provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting this weekend, and top of the agenda is how Masuku, Diko and Masuku’s wife Loyiso Masuku – City of Joburg mayoral committee member for group corporate and shared services – were allegedly involved in the awarding of R2 billion PPE tenders by the provincial Health Department, under Masuku’s leadership.
All three were referred to the ANC Gauteng Integrity Committee on July 30. According to sources, the committee supplied ANC provincial secretary Jacob Khawe with its reports but the leaders apparently identified several deficiencies in the report.
Insiders said some of the leaders expressed concerns about possible conflicting reports by the committee and the SIU.
The concern, according to insiders, was that the committee was unable to obtain independent information which would enable it to make a fair verdict.
It is believed that Masuku flatly denied all the allegations against him.
However, the SIU’s investigators are allegedly in possession of affidavits in which a senior official in the department claims to have acted on instructions give by Masuku to dish out the tenders to his friends and acquaintances.
On July 30, the ANC and the Gauteng government, under Premier David Makhura, pleaded the with SIU to conclude its investigations within six weeks so as to allow the party to execute consequence management on the trio as they occupied senior positions in government.
While Khawe is expected to present the committee’s revised report to the PEC, Makhura – the party’s chairperson – finds himself in a conundrum on how and when to table the SIU preliminary findings.
“Makhura’s difficulty is that Khusela Diko has refused to co-operate with the SIU investigations. She served the SIU with a lawyer’s letter to block them from interviewing her. All others, including Bandile Masuku, subjected themselves to interviews with SIU investigators.
“As it stands, SIU investigations are incomplete.”
The ANC PEC meeting was supposed to be held last week to discuss the two reports but had to be postponed to this weekend.
“The leaders are wary that the reports were likely to make conflicting findings on the matter,” one of the sources said.
Diko did not respond to questions sent to her yesterday.
The Independent Media asked the SIU to confirm that Diko has served them with a lawyer’s letter protesting against the decision to interview her on her alleged role in the PPEs scandal.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, in his reply, did not confirm or deny the legal threat.
Instead, he said: “We are not able to respond to your questions as the investigation is ongoing.”
Last month, the SIU was granted an interim order by the Special Tribunal to freeze bank accounts of Royal Bhaca Projects and Ledla Structural Development – both companies linked to Diko’s husband Thandisizwe.
Royal Bhaca Projects was allegedly involved in the award of R125 million tender to supply personal protective equipment (PPE).