- Bandile Masuku argues the SIU made findings against him which aren't supported by evidence.
- The SIU placed Masuku at the centre of the processes that saw a multi-million rand tender awarded to the husband of presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko.
- Masuku's legal team contends the SIU only relied on one source who stated that "the MEC wants his people".
The Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) findings against former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku are not supported by a shred of evidence, his legal team argued on Thursday.
"We are here to show the court that the findings it made is not supported by a shred of evidence. The court must scrutinise that," advocate William Mokhari, SC, said on behalf of Masuku.
"The findings were reached under circumstances where there was no evidence and the SIU did not fulfil its statutory obligations," he added.
Mokhari was arguing before a full bench during the virtual hearing of Masuku's review application of the SIU's findings against him relating to alleged personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption.
This, after the said preliminary SIU report placed Masuku at the centre of processes in the provincial health department that saw the husband of presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko, receiving a R125 million tender to supply PPE.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura removed Masuku based on the SIU preliminary report which found that "he failed to execute his function in compliance with Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)".
Mokhari furthered his argument by submitting that the SIU simply relied on one source instead of gathering evidence from all relevant persons.
"According to the affidavit, the IO (investigating officer) is relying on what [suspended supply chain chief director, Thandy] Pino has said - what we expect from the SIU is to inquire from the relevant people, that they never did.
"In such circumstances, one has to conclude that the SIU is not permitted to simply rely on the say-so of one person when it has all the opportunity to verify what it has been told from the sources available. That is what we are saying," he explained.
News24 earlier reported that Pino, allegedly probed former CFO Kabelo Lehloenya as to why the department was using a company [Royal Bhaca] who was very well known politically.
To which Lehloenya's responded that "the MEC wants his people".
Mokhari added that due to the SIU failing to take material facts into account, its conclusion against Masuku was irrational.
Judge Roland Sutherland asked whether it was not the test if a rational person in possession of the information gathered by the SIU, would infer that the MEC was derelict.
"Won't you spell out why it is irrational on the basis of the information before the SIU to draw the inference that the MEC was derelict?" Sutherland asked.
To this, Mokhari responded: "The SIU, in conducting its investigation, completely failed to take material facts into account; failed to gather evidence and made findings that are irrational. The court should come to the assistance of the applicant, because the applicant has demonstrated that findings have maligned his reputation and dignity."
The virtual hearing continues.