Fired Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku on Monday said he was carefully studying the Pretoria high court’s judgment, which dismissed his application challenging the findings of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) with costs.
Despite this, Masuku said Judge Roland Sutherland’s judgment removed any doubt in the eyes of the public that he was involved in any corruption relating to personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement or benefited financially.
In a statement issued by his lawyers, Motalane Inc, Masuku said the courts had emphatically said there were no adverse findings against him.
“Dr Bandile Masuku notes the judgment handed down by the North Gauteng High Court earlier today. Importantly, Dr Masuku notes that the court found that the SIU saw no crime being committed by Dr Masuku and that there was no basis for civil action against Dr Masuku. In fact, the court noted that the SIU had no action it could or should take against Dr Masuku,” the statement read.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura in October last year used the SIU report to fire Masuku after the unit found he had failed to exercise oversight over the procurement of PPE. This was in connection with the awarding of multimillion-rand contracts by the provincial health department to a company owned by the late husband of suspended presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko.
The former MEC’s lawyers contended in their statement that the judge came to the conclusion that Masuku is “not accused of corruption or nepotism” and that the findings of the SIU were mere opinions that Makhura should not have relied on to remove him from office.
Judge Sutherland ruled that the SIU deemed Masuku’s conduct to be wanting and this justified the adverse inference about his lack of professionalism and lack of care in discharging his functions.
The judge also found the SIU saw no crime having been committed by Masuku nor did the unit see any basis for civil action against him.
“Indeed, it decided there was no action it could or should take. The SIU faithfully reported what it had learnt to the premier and to the president,” said Sutherland.
However, Masuku said he was concerned that the judgment did not address the matter of executive oversight by authorities, which was one of his main contentions in the review application.
“Such an oversight by the court does not help to clarify the confusion that exists about the extent and limits of the executive oversight. As a result, an opportunity to define a standard and strengthen governance, was terribly missed, especially in the context of the court finding that PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] would not have assisted the MEC in stopping any malfeasance.”