The African National Congress (ANC) has announced that Gauteng health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku will be placed under temporary leave for the next two to four weeks with immediate effect.
This follows reports that Masuku alongside other government officials were allegedly involved in irregular tender processes relating to the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Gauteng health department.
During a media briefing on Thursday, ANC’s Gauteng provincial secretary, Jacob Khawe confirmed that the party also took a decision to place Masuku’s wife, Loyiso, who is alleged to be involved in the matter, under temporary leave.
“The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) has resolved that MEC Masuku, City of Joburg MMC Loyiso Masuku and Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko be subjected to the party’s provincial integrity committee (PIC) with immediate effect.
“Loyiso and Bandile Masuku should also be placed on temporary leave within 2-4 weeks. The leave of absence for both of them is with immediate effect.”
Khawe said the PEC welcomed the decision taken by Khusela to take a leave of absence from all official roles in government on Monday.
“In discussing this we are not finding anybody guilty. We believe there must be a process that addresses the issues raised publicly. We separated the issue of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to normal ANC processes. The process is not to determine guilty or not guilty.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura had requested the SIU to investigate the matter after calls from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Democratic Alliance (DA), and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
Khawe said the ANC’s integrity committee should conclude its investigation within 2-4 weeks.
“The Premier has to give a report to Gauteng communities about the procurement process.
“He has to impress upon the SIU that when you institute an investigation, some matters require urgency. And Covid-19 has demonstrated that everything has to be done quick.”
The provincial secretary further said the party is still to discuss who will be the acting health MEC while Masuku is on leave.
Sunday Independent had reported that a R125 million PPE contract was awarded to Royal Bacha – owned by the AmBhaca king, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, who is the spouse of Khusela Diko.
Masuku’s wife had also reportedly been linked to the claims through her close relationship with the Presidency’s spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the MEC has since denied being involved in involved in the matter.