How it started
Bandile Masuku, a medical doctor was appointed last year to the highest ranking public office post in his field in Gauteng.
Masuku became a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 22 May 2019.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura appointed him as the Member of the Executive Council for Health on 29 May, 2019.
The matter was prompted by the pandemic.
It was discovered that Bandile Masuku handled the PPE Covid-19 tender illegally.
The SIU found that department officials had claimed the Gauteng health department CFO, Kabelo Lehloenya, was approving PPE contracts in contravention of the law.
The issue moved up when Masuku’s office refused to resolve the issue but continued to allow Lehloenya bypass the head of supply chain management, Thandy Pino, and approving PPE deals.
Lehloenya resigned in the cause of the investigating and Pino was suspended.
SIU also found out that three contracts awarded led to the loss of over R45-million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The SIU is yet to make any findings of whether Masuku participated in corruption or collusion.
However, it was found that among the investigated suppliers which won tenders to provide the department with personal protective equipment is a company belonging to presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko’s husband.
Awarding the tender to the Diko was done illegally.
It was also heard that the Masukus and the Dikos are close family friends.
Diko’s husband was awarded a contract worth over R100 million, which was later supposedly cancelled.
He got axed
In the light of this allegation, Masuku was granted leave from office on July 30 and Jacob Mamabolo has been acting in the position of health MEC.
While addressing the media on Friday, Makhura made it known that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) revealed that Dr Masuku had “failed to execute his functions in compliance with the constitution and the Public Finance Management Act”.
SIU recommended that Makhura takes administrative action against Masuku.
This led to the dismissal of Bandile Masuku.
“Based on their findings where they say the MEC failed to execute his functions, I have decided to discharge Dr Bandile Masuku from his responsibilities at the MEC of health,” Makhura explains.
Makhura made it known that the PPE corruption investigation will still continue despite discharging Masuku.
He however noted that the Gauteng health MEC position will remain vacant until the investigation concludes.
Jacob Mamabolo would continue as the acting MEC.
Masuku heads to court
Masuku on Friday said that he will be heading to court to have the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) findings against him to be set aside.
Masuku slammed the preliminary findings by the SIU.
He claimed that the findings were incorrect and non-factual in relation to his role as an executive authority.
He also accused the SIU of ignoring affidavits and making no mention of the facts he provided.
Investigation is still ongoing.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé