After a damning Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report, Gauteng Premier David Makhura has decided to remove embattled Health MEC Bandile Masuku.
The report found that Masuku was firmly at the centre of dodgy Covid-19 coronavirus tender for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) worth R125 million from a politically connected company.
On Friday Makhura announced that based on the report, he had decided to “discharge” Masuku, who would be redeployed to the provincial legislature.
Makhura said the SIU found that Masuku failed to execute his functions in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.
It then recommend that the premier should act against the MEC.
“On Friday, I received another updated report from the SIU pertaining to the role of the MEC for Health, Dr Bandile Masuku, who was placed on special leave in July. Based on the SIU’s findings and recommendation thereof, the course of administrative action I’m taking is to discharge Dr Bandile Masuku from his responsibilities as the MEC for health,” he said.
However, Makhura said that should the SIU complete its report and find him innocent, he would reinstate Masuku.
“The report on Masuku is ongoing, I will not fill the position of health MEC until it is complete. Should the investigation find him innocent, I will happily reinstate him.
“Accordingly, I have further decided that I will only appoint the new MEC for health once the SIU has reached finality on its investigation into allegations of corruption and collusion,” he said.
Makhura then praised Masuku for his work in helping curb the spread of the virus in the province.
“I have taken cognisance of the contribution that MEC Masuku has made in improving the department of health since his appointment and appreciate the leadership he provided during Gauteng’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The report found that Masuku was made aware of the irregularities in the procurement of PPE but did nothing or very little to stop it.
Makhura said that the SIU recommended he should determine if Masuku was suitable to continue as health MEC.
“Based on their findings, where they say that the MEC has failed to execute his functions in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act, I have decided to discharge Dr Bandile Masuku from his responsibilities as the Gauteng MEC for health,” Makhura said.
He said the SIU was still investigating whether Masuku played any role in the actual PPE corruption.
This is after a forensic report finalised on Thursday found no evidence implicating Masuku and his wife Loyiso, in any wrongdoing in the PPE tenders.
The report was compiled by Darryl Furman and Associates, who instructed Paul O’Sullivan and Associates, Forensic and Loss Control Consultants POAA “to carry out a diligent search for evidence of criminal offences, such as fraud and/or corruption by the Masukus”.
However, the report notes that the MEC received an email from the department’s supply chain manager, which contained all the supplier’s details – including Royal Bhaca.
Royal Bhaca is owned by Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of the Masukus’ family friend, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko.
City Press was reliably informed that the ANC provincial executive committee will meet on Sunday to deliberate on Makhura’s decision and whether Masuku should be removed as a member of the provincial committee.