President's spokesperson Khusela Diko takes leave of absence in face of PPE procurement scandal

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Minister Jackson Mthembu and presidential spokeswoman Khusela Diko addressing the media at the Union Buildings. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla
Minister Jackson Mthembu and presidential spokeswoman Khusela Diko addressing the media at the Union Buildings. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla
  • Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko has been granted leave of absence amid pending investigation into allegations involving her husband regarding a R125m PPE contact at the GP dept of health.
  • Diko and her husband maintain that money was never paid and the contact was never finalised, according to reports.
  • Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku has denied any involvement in the alleged PPE corruption scandal.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko has taken a leave of absence from all her roles in government, pending investigations into allegations involving her and her husband and tender regulations in the Gauteng Department of Health.

In a statement issued on Monday evening, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said Diko had requested the Presidency to allow her to take leave of absence.

"The Minister in the Presidency, who is her immediate supervisor, as well as the President of the Republic, [has] accepted her request for leave of absence whilst the allegations are being investigated. The Presidency has appointed Mr Tyrone Seale to act in the position of spokesperson to the president whilst Ms Diko is on leave."

Sunday Independent reported that a R125-million personal protective equipment (PPE) contract was allegedly awarded to disputed AmaBhaca king, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, who is her husband.

Diko and her husband maintain the money was never paid to his company and the contract was never finalised, Sunday Times also previously reported. 

This revelation comes just hours after the Gauteng ANC called a meeting with Diko and Health MEC Bandile Masuku over the debacle.

News24 earlier reported that Gauteng ANC secretary Jacob Khawe was expected to meet with premier. the party's provincial chair David Makhura. and Masuku, following allegations of widespread corruption at the health department.

This emanates from Sunday Independent's report on the awarding of the contract to Diko's husband, who also sits on the ANC's provincial executive committee.

READ: ANC Gauteng to meet with Makhura, Masuku over Covid-19 corruption claims

Masuku recently denied his involvement in influencing irregular Covid-19-related procurement processes.

This comes after the Sunday paper linked Masuku and his wife, Loyiso Masuku, to the contract.

"I value my reputation, that of the department and the Gauteng provincial government and, as such, I am obliged to set the record straight," Masuku said in a statement.  

ALSO READ: Gauteng Health MEC denies involvement in PPE procurement corruption

He said the process of awarding contracts within the department rested entirely with the supply chain management function in the department's finance unit.

"Throughout my career, I have always acted with utmost integrity and conviction. I strongly refute any suggestion that Covid-19 procurement is being used as a means to raise funds ahead of ANC conferences.

"As MEC for Health in Gauteng, I remain committed to ensuring that our comprehensive health response is focused on saving lives. I will do everything in my power to ensure that anyone found to be stealing money meant for Covid-19 relief [is] identified and brought to book," he said.

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