Gauteng premier David Makhura has come out to deny allegations that he was involved in the awarding of illegal personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts.
This is after the DA asked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate claims that his office was allegedly responsible for selecting individuals and companies who were illegally given tenders to supply PPE to government.
Makhura’s call came after the DA claimed that he was personally implicated in the saga.
He was implicated by a former provincial health chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya, who resigned in May last year – following reports of tender fraud during her tenure as head of the bid adjudication committee.
In her affidavit about those who were awarded the tenders, Lehloenya said: “Those suppliers provided their contacts at multiple levels. Some came directly to me. Others came through the head of department [Professor Mkhululi Lukhele, who has since resigned]. Some came from the office of the MEC [former health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku] and others from the office of the premier. There were still others from within the Gauteng department of health and outside.”
Lehloenya made the affidavit in her failed bid to stop the SIU from freezing her pension, but the tribunal ruled against her.
In the judgment, handed out on December 10, the judge found that Lehloenya said the premier, Masuku and Lukhele had allegedly given her instructions to award PPE tenders to companies of their choice.
Makhura said he wanted the SIU to investigate the affidavit and called on the DA and other organisations to read it before making accusations. He said he would present himself to the integrity committee to submit his case.
“In the seven years I have served in the office of the premier I have never sought to see my friends get enriched corruptly. I was advised to let the ANC perform its processes and conclude what should happen,” he said.
Makhura added that he had taken the judgment back to the tribunal judge to challenge the affidavit.
“I am very happy that he [the judge] has acknowledged my application and saw merit in it,” he said, adding that the allegations had brought his name into disrepute.
He reiterated that he had not given any names to receive tenders.
“I will not step down on an orchestrated campaign to cast my name down. I will step down only if the ANC tells me that I should do so. As someone who is in public office, I have expected to be attacked by people, but I will not wrestle in the mud. I am clear in my conscience; I will not defraud the people of Gauteng,” he said.
Makhura went on to say that education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was also being investigated after a report brought to light by the education department revealed exorbitant expenditure on sanitising schools in the province.
The DA previously called on Makhura to hold Lesufi accountable for the R431 million spent on sanitising, deep cleaning and decontaminating schools.
Lesufi said that no friend, family member or close comrade of his benefited from the massive projects to sanitise and deep clean schools in the province within three months last year.
On Friday, Makhura said that the SIU would be investigating the case.
“MEC Lesufi’s case is also being investigated, I have spoken to him and the SIU,” he said.