Gauteng premier David Makhura says Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender scandals have greatly embarrassed the provincial government.

GAUTENG Premier David Makhura has appointed transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo as the acting MEC for health for the next four weeks following the ANC provincial executive committee’s decision to have Dr Bandile Masuku and his wife placed on special leave pending the probe into the controversial personal protective equipment tender.

This comes after a company owned by Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko’s husband was awarded a R125 million tender by the provincial department of health.

Royal Bhaca Project received the controversial tender despite close relations between the Masuku and Diko families.

Makhura said the recent allegations have profoundly eroded public confidence in the work of the collective in Gauteng.

“I am disappointed to have an MEC who was leading the fight on COVID-19 so well being implicated in such allegations. I am therefore placing MEC Bandile Masuku on a leave of absence,” said Makhura on Thursday.

“MEC Jacob Mamabolo will be the acting MEC for Gauteng Health Department for over the next few weeks. I am also going to ask the minister for Health Dr Zweli Mkhize to add a technical team to the Gauteng Health team.”

During a media briefing on Thursday, ANC’s Gauteng provincial secretary, Jacob Khawe confirmed that the party also took a decision to place Masuku’s wife, Loyiso, who is alleged to be involved in the matter, under temporary leave

“The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) has resolved that MEC Masuku, City of Joburg MMC Loyiso Masuku and Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko be subjected to the party’s provincial integrity committee (PIC) with immediate effect. Loyiso and Bandile Masuku should also be placed on temporary leave within 2-4 weeks. The leave of absence for both of them is with immediate effect,” said Khawe.

“In discussing this we are not finding anybody guilty. We believe there must be a process that addresses the issues raised publicly. We separated the issue of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to normal ANC processes. The process is not to determine guilty or not guilty.”

The Diko family have since released a statement denying the allegations.

They have denied being involved in any corruption relating to a controversial Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender.

The family maintains that the R125 million contract to Royal Bhaca Projects was above board and no laws were broken.

The contract for PPEs was awarded by the Gauteng health department, allegedly with the influence of the department’s MEC Masuku and Khusela Diko.

Meanwhile, Treasury is considering centralising the procurement of Covid-19 PPE to avoid allegations of corruption

Finance minister Tito Mboweni in parliament clarified on Wednesday that R500 billion could not be looted as per allegations as around half of this figure are state-guaranteed loans to businesses by commercial banks.

(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)

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