The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the ANC in Gauteng has extended suspended Health MEC Bandile Masuku’s leave of absence by two weeks as they deal with the party’s integrity commission report.
It is disturbing that the ANC does not separate party and state when deciding Masuku’s fate. According to the Constitution only the provincial government has the power to suspend or dismiss him.
Premier David Makhura should be firing him for failing to prevent the R2 billion PPE contracts scandal, instead of defending him within the ANC. This is an accountability issue, and he should be held to account.
His failure is far larger than the multimillion-rand PPE tender awarded to a company owned by Thandiziwe Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Spokesperson Khusela Diko, who is a family friend of the Masuku’s.
Masuku should not have lied about the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Kabelo Lehloenya which he claimed was for personal reasons when he knew that she was avoiding disciplinary action because of the PPE contracts.
His task was to fix a department notorious for corruption, but he failed to appoint the right people and to uproot the corruption networks that jumped at the opportunity to loot the massive amount of money made available to fight Covid-19.
There were other fishy contracts that he did not stop like the 73 security companies that were irregularly appointed in 2014 for a two year period and then extended month-by-month to the present at a cost of R2.56 billion irregular expenditure.
Nor did he pick up the R140 million contract awarded to Impela Alliances to do unnecessary financial work that was found to be irregular and cancelled after R17.2 million was already paid.
The wrangling of ANC factions should not delay Masuku’s dismissal for his lack of oversight in preventing massive corruption, which was also a finding of their own integrity commission.