Axed Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku heads to court
Johannesburg - Former Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku has filed papers in court challenging the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report handed to Premier David Makhura which recommended that he be fired.
Masuku is requesting the court to set aside the findings of the SIU.
In his affidavit, Masuku said he wants the findings declared unlawful and unconstitutional, and set aside.
“As I fully set out below, there was no factual or legal basis for the findings and recommendations made,” he said.
Masuku went on to question the finding that he had instructed the provincial government to centralise the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).
He said the decision was taken by the government following directives from the National Treasury.
“The first respondent went on to find that I instructed the centralisation and motivated or supported it for ‘nefarious’ purposes. The entire letter of the first respondent is founded upon baseless and untruthful conclusions which are based on illogical inferences, suppositions and conjecture.
“The lack of factual and evidentiary foundation for the trenchant findings heightens the injustice that I suffered and continue to suffer,” Masuku said.
He said the report was used to nail him and paint him as the poster boy for Covid-19 corruption, something he is prepared to challenge fully.
“The overwhelming evidence in my case show that the SIU came out guns blazing towards me with the sole objective of destroying my political and professional career,” he said.
The SIU found that Masuku failed to take reasonable steps when it came to the contract that was awarded to Royal Bhaca Project, the company of Thandisizwe Diko, husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko.
Masuku has denied this, indicating that it was he who called for an investigation into the procurement of PPE in the province.
He maintained that he was never involved in the appointment of service providers, and once he got wind of irregularities in the procurement process, he called on the Gauteng Risk Audit to look into the matter.
“This was my first intervention, which was taken within four weeks since the declaration of the National State of Disaster by the president.
“The Office of the Premier then had a discussion with the HOD and I, and we agreed that an investigation must be conducted.
“Thus, before the matter was in the public eye or was reported on by the media, I, as the executive authority responsible for the department, took a decision that an investigation to uncover any wrongdoing had to commence,” he said.
Masuku added that as a result of this “proactiveness”, Makhura wrote to Ramaphosa asking that the SIU investigate. He questioned the manner in which the SIU handled the matter.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the allegations levelled against the SIU by Masuku’s attorneys were an attempt to hold a “trial by media”.
“We are not in a position where we want to have a trial in the media; it is not helpful. They’ve got the right to do what they’re doing and if they have sent the papers, we will receive them once they’re brought to us because if they served them only yesterday (Friday), we have not received them.
“What they have written is their interpretation and we are not going to respond to any of those allegations that they are putting out in the public,” said Kganyago.