The proceeds of a controversial R125 million personal protective equipment (PPE) tender awarded to presidential spokesperson Khuselo Diko’s husband, Thandisizwe Diko, by the Gauteng health department would not have benefited the amaBhaca community, fellow royals have said.
This according to a group calling itself the great grandchildren of Inkosi uMadzikane who was the king of the amaBhaca nation.
In a scathing statement this week, the group’s spokesperson, Simphiwe Bhaca Makaula, slammed those involved in the controversial tender as self-enriching opportunists
The group distanced the amaBhaca nation from Diko and his Royal Bhaca Projects business.
“The entity that is called the Royal Bhaca Projects has nothing to do with the amaBhaca Traditional Council that is a product of statute, or amaBhaca people,” said Makaula. Whatever proceeds that would have emanated from tender “were not meant to benefit amaBhaca; but for personal self-enrichment,” he added.
“As a people, we stand firmly behind our government efforts to uproot corruption and ensure that the country’s scarce resources are fully utilised to improve the lives of our people.”
Diko had justified the now cancelled tender, saying he had a responsibility to support the rural community where he came from.
The statement comes in the wake of reports that Royal Bhaca Projects had been awarded a R125 million PPE tender from the Gauteng health department.
Khusela Diko has since taken a leave of absence following the allegations, amid public outrage.
News24 reported her husband was not a recognised king after the couple claimed to be the king and queen of the amaBhaca.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam told News24 Diko was a chief.
“Your inquiry on Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko refers. We confirm that he is not a king, rather a recognised chief of Elubhacweni Traditional Council in Mount Frere overseeing two villages.
“We are saddened by the insensitivity displayed by all those involved who, when our country is battling the Covid-19 pandemic, and is trying to mobilise all the resources in order to save the lives of our people, are opportunistically seizing the moment to unjustly enrich themselves.
“We are seriously disturbed by the fact that, in the midst of this alleged plunder and pillage, the good name of our great grandfather, Inkosi Madzikane, is dragged in the mud. Thandisizwe Diko is our brother and chief of Elubhacweni – and nothing more,” said Makaula.
News24 sent questions to Thandisizwe and Khusela, but both failed to respond. The response will be added once received.
In a joint statement last week, Diko insisted his company had attempted to cancel the contract, describing the move to seek business with the department as “an error of judgement”.
“I deeply regret that these efforts to earn an honest living and improve the well-being of my people are now mired in controversy”.