Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Makhura cleared of PPE scandal

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Feb 3, 2021

Share this article:

Johannesburg - Premier David Makhura’s fight against a push to remove him from office secured a major boost after his direct implication in the Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) scandal in the Special Tribunal ruling by Judge Selelwe Mothle was reversed this week.

This comes as Makhura, also the provincial ANC chairperson, is facing internal revolt from within the governing party as those opposed to him are accusing him of side-lining them in deployments and of refusing to take responsibility over wrongdoings that took place under his administration.

The Covid-19 PPE scandal has seen removal of former health MEC Bandile Masuku, head of department Professor Mkhululi Lukhele and other senior officials as the department was marred by allegations of tender corruption and massive looting of the funds.

Last month, Makhura was dragged into the scandal after Judge Mothle’s judgment at the Special Tribunal made reference to Makhura being cited as having given the department’s former chief financial officer Kabelo Lehloenya a list of certain companies to include among those that were lined up to benefit from the tender.

Makhura has however, disputed this pointing out that Lehloenya’s deposed affidavit before the tribunal had alleged that his office, not he personally, had provided the list to her.

Yesterday, Makhura expressed relief that the tribunal had finally clarified that he had not been personally alleged to have given Lehloenya names of companies to be appointed as service providers for PPE.

“I am happy that the statement has been corrected, making it clear that there were no allegations made against the premier’s involvement in PPE procurement irregularities,” Makhura said.

Judge Mothle said: “I have on receipt of the premier’s application, realised that the omission of the word “Office of” before “the Premier” and “the MEC” in the judgment text is capable of being construed to mean that the Tribunal has found or decided that it was the premier personally or the MEC personally, who supplied the names. There was no such decision or finding made on the allegations…”

The scandal had seen Makhura facing pressure to step aside, with the ANC Youth League and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the province leading the call for his head.

Sanco had on Monday also called on Makhura to remove education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who is the ANC’s deputy chairperson and Makhura’s ally, over the R431 million spent by his department on the deep cleaning of schools.

Yesterday, Cosatu provincial chairperson Amos Monyela said the calls for Makhura and Lesufi’s removal were marred by factionalism.

“We are not going to be taken by factions of the ANC. We are unwavering on corruption but we are not going to follow the faction of the ANC because that is the pollution that is going to destroy our province,” Monyela said.

One senior ANC insider said Makhura had not been consistent as he had made Masuku step aside before any adverse report against him was released by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

“He (Masuku) was made to step aside even before that report of the SIU which said he failed to exercise oversight. Why is Makhura not taking leave of absence to clear his own name?” the member asked.

Monyela said Masuku and Makhura’s cases were different as Masuku was brought into the saga through the family friendship ties that he enjoyed with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko and her husband who secured a tender from his department.

He said Makhura had to, however, probe the originator of the list handed to Lehloenya.

The SACP also slammed the moves to remove Makhura and Lesufi.

Share this article: