Makhura should rule out any reinstatement of discharged Masuku, says DA

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Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku.
Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • The DA says a new MEC needs to be appointed to fix the "rot" in the Gauteng Health Department.
  • Meanwhile, the IFP says it welcomes the action taken against Masuku and that the decision shows that the administration is serious about rooting out corruption in the province. 
  • Premier David Makhura announced on Friday that he had discharged Masuku of his responsibilities. 

Gauteng Premier David Makhura should rule out any reinstatement of discharged Health MEC Bandile Masuku and appoint a new one to fix the "deep rot" in the department, the DA in the province says. 

The party said this on Friday after Makhura announced that he had decided to discharge Masuku of his responsibilities, based on findings of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) from a preliminary report that he failed, "to execute his function in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)". 

In a statement, DA MPL Jack Bloom said the contravention of the Constitution and the PFMA was a serious matter, and that he is astonished that Makhura was prepared to overlook Masuku's "political failure". 

READ | Declare to who? Inside the push back around the ANC Gauteng's integrity commission

Masuku and his wife Loyiso, who is also an MMC at the City of Johannesburg, were put on leave following reports of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender corruption in the province. 

READ | Masuku to fight back, asks lawyers to challenge SIU report

Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, whose husband, Madzikane Thandisiwe II, had been awarded a R125 million tender to supply PPE to the department, was also placed on leave. 

"I am astonished that Makhura is prepared to overlook Masuku’s political failure as the SIU confirms the obvious fact that he failed to prevent the massive corruption that occurred. 

"Makhura himself pointed out that senior officials were being disciplined or resigned because they did not take action to prevent the corruption. This surely applies to the political head as well," Bloom said.

He added:

"It seems that Makhura wishes to rescue a friend and political ally rather than enforce high standards of accountability. This undermines the fight against future corruption. The premier should rule out any reinstatement of Masuku as Health MEC and appoint a new MEC who can fix the deep rot in this department."

The FF Plus has also welcomed Masuku's axing as health MEC, adding that it was, however, concerned that Makhura would not fill the position until he has received the final SIU report.

The party said the vacant post could have a detrimental effect on the department's functioning, mainly in the context of the Covid-19 lockdown period.

"The FF Plus wants to see that that the personal bank accounts of Masuku as [well as] his wife's, Loyiso Lugayeni-Masuku, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Group Corporate and Shared Services in the Johannesburg Metro Council, are also investigated seeing as they are both implicated in the fraud. 

Report

"The FF Plus wants to encourage the SIU to release its final report as soon as possible," it said.

The IFP described Makhura's decision to remove Masuku as "bold", saying it was commendable and appropriate - signaling that the current administration was serious in its commitment to root out corruption and maladministration in the province. 

"The IFP further welcomes the premier’s commitment to recover those stolen funds from all Covid-19 tenders across all departments in the Gauteng government. In this regard, the IFP calls for all the SIU reports to be made public, in the interest of public transparency," IFP Gauteng chairperson, Bonginkosi Dhlamini said.

The IFP has also urged acting MEC of Health Jacob Mamabolo to ensure funding in the department was used lawfully and sparingly for its intended purposes. 

ALSO READ | Masuku fights back: MEC challenges some of the ANC integrity commission's damning findings

It added that officials who remained in the department need to prove the party wrong and ensure no further corruption occurred under their watch.    

"The IFP echoes the calls for Covid-19 awareness and reiterates its call that no stone should be left unturned in this probe."

News24 reported earlier that Masuku has instructed his lawyers to apply to challenge the findings in the SIU report

In a statement, the former MEC said: "The SIU report makes incorrect and non-factual findings about my role as Executive Authority. It is unclear whether the report is final, and to this end I have written to the premier to explain to him, that, in fact, and in law, I will be exercising my rights to review the findings in a court of law to set them aside." 

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