Dr Bandile Masuku has been removed as the Gauteng Health MEC, after he went on special leave in July this year following allegations of irregularities in the province’s PPE (personal protective equipment) procurement processes.
During a media briefing on Friday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura confirmed that the decision comes after he received an updated report from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on the corruption allegations.
Makhura said Masuku, who was also implicated in the matter, was found to have failed to execute his functions as set out by the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
“Based on the SIU’s findings and recommendation thereof, the course of administrative action I’m taking is to discharge Dr Bandile Masuku from his responsibilities as the MEC for Gauteng Health,” the premier said.
The premier noted that due to the ongoing SIU investigation, he would appoint a new MEC after the investigation has been concluded.
“Taking into account that there is a part of the investigation that is still outstanding, I have further decided that I will only appoint the new MEC for health once the SIU has reached finality on its investigation into allegations of corruption and collusion,” he said.
Makhura, however, added that should Masuku be cleared, he will be reappointed as MEC.
“So [Jacob] Mamabolo will remain as acting Health MEC. Should the MEC be cleared I will gladly re-appoint him in his former position,” the premier said.
Masuku’s removal comes after he was cleared of any wrongdoing by well-known forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, which compiled a separate report from SIU, on the allegations.
O’Sullivan was reportedly commissioned to look into the allegations against Masuku, which compiled a separate report from SIU.
BREAKING: A forensic report done by investigator Paul O’Sullivan which looked into the Gauteng Health Department’s PPE scandal has ABSOLVED MEC Bandile Masuku of any wrongdoing. It says if anyone is to be blamed it’s Khusela Diko’s husband Thandisizwe. @Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/wdR7ci6ZP9
— Ziyanda N (@ZiyandaNgcobo) October 9, 2020
Masuku’s wife, Loyiso – a Johannesburg Mayoral Committee Member – was also implicated in alleged corruption along with Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of ANC provincial executive committee member and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko.
Madzikane Diko was allegedly awarded a R125 million irregular PPE contract from the provincial health department in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Gauteng health department head, Professor Mkhululi Lukhele, has resigned after being placed on precautionary suspension last week.
Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said that the precautionary suspension was recommended by the SIU.
The SIU found that the head of department had allegedly failed to exercise responsibility in awarding contracts during procurement of goods and services related to the pandemic.
It said the actions or alleged omissions may have led to wasted and fruitless expenditure.
Andile Gwabeni, the deputy director-general of Human Resources and Corporate Services, was also served with a letter of suspension last Thursday.