Report on Covid-19 corruption is now tug-of-war between ANC factions
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Johannesburg - A tug-of-war is playing out in the ANC over the release of the provincial integrity commission’s (PIC) Covid-19 corruption investigation.
In what was set to be a fact-finding mission over alleged corruption in the Gauteng Health Department that saw President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, and Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife Loyiso take a leave of absence after being linked to a controversial R125 million personal protective equipment scandal.
The report, which was supposed to be released on Tuesday, has now been sent back to the commission. In what looks like an ANC factional battle, the report has allegedly not been tabled before the Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) because it waived adverse findings against Diko.
Independent Media has seen the report, which found that Masuku “had not broken the law but lacked the expected oversight”.
The report also found that Masuku may have not done enough to protect the reputation of the ANC but recognised that he acted out of integrity when he called on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate Covid-19 tender irregularity.
On Diko, the investigation found that it was incorrect for her husband, Thandisizwe Diko, to do business with the government given her role in the ANC, government and her proximity to the president. Sources inside the PIC have revealed that Masuku yesterday took on the commission, saying they should prove where the oversight was. Sources inside the commission have revealed that Masuku has sent a “legal document” to the PIC informing them of the process of procurement at the Health Department and how processes were possibly flouted.
“Masuku wants the commission to tell him where he was wrong because he was not in charge of procurement and was the one who called in the SIU to investigate when the Covid-19 tenders hit. He wants the law, not politics, to be applied,” the source said.
The report was presented to Masuku and Diko separately; Diko at 12pm on Monday and Masuku at 4pm. The report was due to be tabled to the Gauteng ANC PEC yesterday when a tug-of-war over the report ensued. According to sources, Ramaphosa’s faction in Gauteng was displeased with the adverse findings against Diko and wanted the commission to “relook” at the report.
“It’s wrong for us to want to blame the MEC when we know what’s going on here. Why is the report not released? We were waiting for a report. It cannot be sent back,” the source said.
Diko was not available for comment and Masuku responded that he could not talk to the media and directed us back to the integrity commission.
Masuku, whose wife is a close friend of the Dikos, is said to have strained relations with Diko after feeling they betrayed his trust. The PIC report has also backed Ramaphosa’s proclamation that allowed the SIU to probe corruption around Covid-19 social relief funds being stolen or misused.