Suspended Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku has strongly denied any involvement in the widely publicised provincial corruption scandal involving the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), saying that the report produced by the Special investigations Unit (SIU) has attempted to portray him as the “poster-boy” of COVID-1 related corruption”. 

Masuku is set to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee this week, and he has urgently appealed to the Pretoria High Court to request that they set aside the SIU’s findings on the basis that they ignored material facts and were based on erroneous information that seek to portray him in an unfavourable light. 

Masuku submits urgent appeal to Pretoria High Court 

In a lengthy affidavit submitted to the court on Friday, Masuku said that the report provided by the SIU regarding his role in alleged corruption during the pandemic is laughable. 

“The painstakingly flavoured and flamboyant adjectives contained in the [SIU’s] report were clearly meant to ensure that I unjustifiably get propped up and nailed as the proverbial posterboy of COVID-19 related corruption,” he said. “This I cannot leave unchallenged.” 

It seems that the language used in the report has irked Masuku in particular, and he said that he is being lined up to be skewered by the press. 

“I take great exception to the language used by the SIU as it is not supported by any evidence but is simply an allegation plucked out of the air and used for atmosphere, grabbing of headlines and for effect,” he said. 

Masuku remains suspended 

In the wake of the revelations that Makura was integral to the scandal in which it is alleged that irregular PPE tenders were awarded under his watch, Gauteng Premier David Makhura suspended his Health MEC along with presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko. 

Diko’s husband,  Royal Bhaca Projects owner Madzikane Thandisizwe Diko, is accused of having secured a lucrative R124 million tender — by way of political influence associated with his relationship to the presidential spokesperson — to supply PPE to the Gauteng department of health. 

It’s further alleged that, in addition to the glaring red flags of nepotism, Thandisizwe Diko inflated prices in an attempt to maximise profits.

SIU insist MEC’s tender distribution was ‘nefarious’ 

The SIU’s report insists that Masuku must have known that “the decision to promote or support any proposal for the centralisation [for PPE] made no sense at all and was irrational to say the least.”

“The MEC’s support of this proposal may have been for nefarious purposes… to potentially benefit himself, his wife or their friends,” they said in reference to the Dikos. 

Masuku said in response that he had done exactly what other provincial department heads had done and is being treated unfairly. 

“The decision was in line with what the national government had done and what other provinces were doing, which was to ensure that the department responsible for health care issues and deals with procurement of PPE,” he said, adding that the investigations into alleged corruption that have become increasingly urgent during the pandemic need to be better conducted. 

“With respect, if the state is going to uncover corruption there needs to be better investigative work and investigators ought to be familiar with the elementary tenets of the environment that they are investigating,” he said. “The findings are simply garbage.”

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Presh JM Reporter

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