PPE report: Khusela Diko slams ANC Gauteng boss Jacob Khawe
Pretoria - Suspended Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko, who is also a Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) member, has launched a scathing attack on provincial secretary Jacob Khawe, accusing him of dishonesty and trying to destroy her political career.
She accused Khawe, who is her former husband, of undermining internal ANC processes to serve “nefarious political ends”, in relation to the provincial disciplinary committee (PDC) process against her.
This comes amid heightened tensions in the governing party between the supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule over the implementation of the party’s rule, which requires all leaders charged with corruption and other serious crimes to vacate office pending the outcome of their court cases. The matter is expected to dominate the next national executive committee (NEC) meeting, called to deliberate on the names of implicated leaders submitted by the provinces.
Diko has been accused of playing a role in the irregular awarding of a R125 million personal protective equipment (PPE) contract to her late husband Chief Madzikane Thandisizwe Diko by the Gauteng department of health last year. The controversial contracts led to the firing of former Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, who is Khusela Diko’s friend and political confidant.
Diko, who is Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, has accused Khawe of lying about the outcome of her disciplinary process and distorting it to harm her reputation and political career. “It is with regret that internal ANC processes that are still under way have been published to the media. This type of conduct not only undermines the internal process of the ANC, but also, without a doubt, serves a nefarious political agenda and if left unchallenged in the media, distorted facts will be perceived to be the truth,” Diko’s lawyer Avela Nontso said yesterday.
Diko denied a claim, attributed to Khawe, that the PDC had resolved she step aside from all her political positions, as well as from her role as Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, pending the finalisation of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation. Khawe reportedly also said he was not aware of any decision by Diko to appeal the PDC decision to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee (NDC).
“In light of this communication, we believe the comments attributed to the provincial secretary in the press, purporting ignorance of Khusela Diko’s decision to appeal the findings of the PDC, therefore, are at the very least regrettable; at best they are blatantly dishonest and nowhere near cogent. Further, it is our client’s assertion that there is no decision that has been taken by the provincial executive committee to accept and implement the findings of the PDC, particularly in light of the fact that our client has elected to exercise her constitutionally enshrined right to appeal/review the decision of the PDC,” Nontso added.
Khawe could not be reached for comment as his phone was off and he failed to respond to a WhatsApp message, which was read. Gauteng ANC spokesperson Bones Modise said the PDC completed investigations against Diko, as instructed by the PEC, which wanted to confirm whether or not Diko and Masuku brought the party into disrepute.
He said the decision of the disciplinary committee was not for discussion, like that of the integrity committee, whose report is first subjected to the PEC for deliberation and amendments if need be.
Modise said Diko and Masuku were furnished with the final report that nobody can change and, although they were not kicked out of the PEC, they had to step aside until the SIU completed its investigations. Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson Tyronne Seale could not be reached for comment on whether the Presidency would implement the PDC’s recommendation that Diko be kept at home until the SIU’s probe is finalised.
Nontso said it was not easy for Diko to break her silence because she had taken a decision not to engage the media when the ANC processes started.
Nontso added that when they received the decision of the PDC, they wrote back to the committee on April 12 on Diko’s instructions noting the findings.
They copied the PEC. They made it clear they found the findings wholly irrational and if left unchallenged could set a devastating precedent – where members would be expected to comply with rules that “do not currently exist”, such as a directive to disclose a spouse’s business interests to the provincial office-bearers of the ANC.
Nontso said Diko will exercise her rights to review and appeal the factual, substantial and procedural findings of the PDC in terms of Rule 25.35 and 25.36 of the ANC constitution, within the time frames prescribed by that constitution.
“Pending the outcome of these processes, it is our understanding that the provincial disciplinary committee decision and findings will be stayed and any communication internally and/or to the public should also communicate our client’s instructions and intention to exercise her rights.”