Bandile Masuku to challenge his dismissal over PPE tenders in court
Johannesburg – Axed Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku believes the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report made ’’incorrect and non-factual findings’’ and intends having it reviewed in court.
Also, an independent forensic report by Paul O’Sullivan and Associates into the alleged irregular procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) has found no evidence that suggests Masuku interfered in procurement processes, TimesLive reported.
"There is no evidence that Dr Masuku interfered in any PPE procurement processes. His stated motivation for being 'involved' was in delivery rather than procurement and solely to ensure that the GDoH did not run out of essential PPE, thereby endangering (the) life of GDoH medical staff or patients," the 39-page forensic report reads.
On Friday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced that Masuku, who had been on special leave since July 30 after allegations surfaced he facilitated the granting of multimillion-rand PPE tenders to his family and friends, had been fired.
“The SIU has found that the Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku has failed to execute his functions in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA),” Makhura said.
“Based on this finding, they then recommended that the premier of the province should take administrative action against the MEC for the purpose of determining the suitability to hold office as an MEC for Health.”
However, Masuku claimed the SIU confused the distinction between his role as MEC and the accounting officer, the department’s director-general, and investigators failed to link the evidence to its findings, relying on ’’incorrect sections of the PFMA to make inaccurate and unprecedented findings”.
“The SIU report makes incorrect and non-factual findings about my role as executive authority. It's unclear whether the report is final and so to this end, I have written to the premier to explain to him that in fact and in law, I will exercise my rights in law to review the findings in a court of law, to set them aside.’’
Masuku also accused the SIU of using “innuendos in a manner that gives an impression that they are engaged in political speech rather than the search for truth and facts”.
“It is clear to me that the SIU is either under extreme pressure from the legitimate public outcry against corruption and the need to ensure accountability or it is deliberately engaged in politics for ends that are yet to be established,” said Masuku.
It was alleged Masuku played a pivotal role in the awarding of a R125 million PPE tender to Royal Bhaca Projects – a company 100%-owned by Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko.
The Masukus and Dikos are family friends. Masuku’s wife Loyiso is also a business partner of Thandisizwe's. Both families have denied the allegations.
A preliminary SIU report and an independent forensic report into the Gauteng PPE scandal contradict one another.
The former implicates while the later exonerates MEC Bandile Masuku in any wrongdoing relating to PPE procurement in his department.
Masuku was placed on special leave after the husband of presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko was awarded a R125 million tender in the department.