Hawks target premises linked to ANC leader

Sello Sekhokho. | Screengrab

Sello Sekhokho. | Screengrab

Published Mar 30, 2023


Johannesburg - Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigative Unit has confirmed a search-andseizure operation at two separate properties linked to the multimillion-rand corruption scandal at the Tembisa Hospital.

Yesterday, the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation said the simultaneous search-and-seizure operations were conducted at a house in Bedfordview and offices in Germiston and Edenvale.

A source close to the operation said the person whose house and offices were raided yesterday is linked to an ANC leader in the province, Sello Sekhokho, who is alleged to have enjoyed lucrative contracts at the hospital.

The raid forms part of investigations into the R1 billion Tembisa Hospital tender scandal, which reportedly cost the life of whistle-blower Babita Deokaran.

Speaking to The Star, Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha declined to divulge the name of the suspected businessman whose properties were the subject of the search-and-seizure, saying the suspect had not been officially charged.

“At this stage of the investigation, we are unable to reveal the identities of the said people as they have yet to appear in court and they have not yet been charged,” he said.

Ramovha said their operation was informed by the ongoing investigation into alleged tender irregularities, which resulted in approximately R1bn being siphoned from the Gauteng Department of Health.

“Over 220 entities and various individuals are subjects of an ongoing investigation in respect of numerous allegations. This includes schemes that reportedly thrived (from) the infringement of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA),” he said.

The Gauteng DA shadow MEC for health, Jack Bloom, also said Sekhokho, the ANC treasurer-general for Ekurhuleni, would have been the ideal person as he was a central figure in the Tembisa Hospital corruption.

“We welcome the search-and-seizure operation and now call for those who ordered the hit against Babita Deokaran, who was killed after she exposed the rot at Tembisa Hospital, to be arrested.

“We believe that whoever is involved in her death and the corruption at this hospital is politically protected and that they are high up in the politics.

“We know that corruption at the Department of Health is rampant and widespread, which is why those involved have to be exposed,” Bloom said.

The spokesperson for the Gauteng Health Department, Motalatale Modiba, said the department fully supported the efforts of the law enforcement agencies.

“Our standpoint as a department remains that we fully support all efforts by law enforcement agencies to bring to book any person or company that might have been involved in any wrongdoing.

“We have taken an anti-corruption stance, and our MEC is on record as saying that it is important to give the law enforcement agencies space to do their work.

“As such, the department will not hesitate to act on the outcomes of the investigations by the various agencies,” he said.

Whistle-blower Deokaran was gunned down outside her child’s school in 2021. In December last year, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi admitted that Deokaran was murdered for exposing R1bn worth of irregular tenders issued at the Tembisa Hospital.

At the time, Lesufi asked the Hawks to carry out the investigation speedily and put the kingpins on trial, along with six others charged with her murder in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg.

It was reported that Sekhokho’s three companies – Kaizen Projects, Nokokhokho Medical Supplies and Bollanoto Security – received R2.8million in contracts in 2019, R4.2m in 2020, and a whopping R7.5m in 2021. However, he received them long before Dr Ashley Mthunzi took over as the hospital CEO.

A politician from Ekurhuleni, who spoke anonymously to The Star, said Sekhokho used to be an ordinary person, then in no time he became rich.

“Sekhokho was arrested some time back defending Luthuli House. He spent almost two years in the Johannesburg Correctional Centre, also known as Sun City, for public violence, and then, boom, he was rich. He is close friends with well-known politicians,” said the politician.

Governance expert Professor Alex van den Heever, speaking in an interview with one of the broadcasters, said the fact that there was complete silence from within the province suggested that the entire provincial health department was misgoverned.

Attempts to speak to the ANC proved unsuccessful at the time of going to print, with calls to national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri failing to go through, and WhatsApp messages were not returned.

According to the Hawks, various electronic gadgets, as well as documentary proof, were seized for further investigation.

At this stage, no arrests have been made, pending further investigation.

The Star