Premier Makhura and DA set to clash over PPE corruption claims
Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura and the DA are set for a real tug of war following the opposition party’s accusations implicating the first provincial citizen in a number of personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption scandals.
Makhura has dismissed the allegations, labelling them as an orchestrated smear campaign aimed at removing him from his political office.
After the emergence of these allegations, the DA under provincial party leader Solly Msimanga approached the Hawks on Thursday and asked the agency to probe Makhura’s alleged involvement in the saga.
These allegations emerged in the affidavit of former Gauteng Health chief financial officer Kabelo Lehloenya in a court application to stop the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) from freezing her pension after she was linked to the PPE scandal.
In her failed application, Lehloenya, who allegedly masterminded the PPE tender fraud, said: “Those suppliers provided their contacts at multiple levels. Some came directly to me. Others came through the HOD (Prof Mkhululi Lukhele – who has since resigned). Some came from the office of the MEC (former MEC Dr Bandile Masuku) and others came from the office of the Premier. Yet still there were others from other employees with the GDOH and outside.”
But Makhura is adamant that he had never personally given such an instruction to Lehloenya. He, however, wrote a letter to the SIU asking it to probe the alleged involvement of his 350 staff members in the tender fraud.
Despite Makhura protesting his innocence, the DA went ahead on Friday and submitted a motion of no confidence against him.
Yesterday the DA urged the Gauteng provincial legislature’s Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe to convene an urgent sitting of the legislature to debate the motion.
DA’s chief whip Mike Moriarty said his party was calling for the immediate removal of Premier Makhura because he “has been implicated in a number of PPE corruption scandals”.
“If this province is serious about the delivery of services to its residents in a clear and transparent manner, the Speaker of the GPL will adhere to the DA’s call for a special sitting to be held.
“It cannot be business as usual when the public purse has been looted by government officials and when tenders for the supply of goods and services is not done in an open and transparent manner.
“The DA cannot allow a Premier who has been implicated in corruption to continue to hold office any longer and he needs to be removed immediately.
“The same vigour that was applied to the dismissal of MEC Masuku for his involvement in corruption must be applied to Premier Makhura,” Moriarty said.
As these allegations simmer, Makhura has offered to appear before the ANC’s Integrity Committee to clear his name.
“I will not allow lies and an orchestrated smear campaign to tarnish my name. For quite a while, I have been aware of an orchestrated campaign to tarnish my name with the ultimate objective to remove me from the Gauteng political scene. It is quite clear that I have become an obstacle to the realisation of certain political ambitions and business agendas.
“I can confidently say that smear campaigns and the lies underpinning them will not succeed because the truth is more powerful and stubborn than political trickery.
“I seek no other relief than to free the truth from the flame of lies being fanned,” Makhura said.