A NUMBER of senior ANC leaders in Gauteng will demand that president Cyril Ramaphosa’ spokesperson Khusela Diko and Health MEC Bandile Masuku step aside from the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) pending the outcome of the investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into corruption allegations relating a to multi-million rand personal protective equipment tender by the provincial health department, when the PEC convenes again next weekend.
The ANC leaders will also demand that Masuku’s wife, Loyiso Masuku, step down as ANC deputy chairperson and regional executive committee member in Johannesburg.
While the three have not been found guilty by any law enforcement agency, some ANC leaders believe forcing them to step aside pending the SIU investigation, will send a clear message to the electorate ahead of next year’s local government elections that the party was serious about fighting corruption.
“They [Masuku and Diko] must step aside from the PEC for the very same reasons Brian Hlongwa [former Health MEC and ANC Chief Whip in Gauteng] and Qedani Mahlangu [former health MEC] were forced to step aside for. We must be seen to be consistent when acting against party leaders facing allegations of corruption,” a PEC member, who asked to remain anonymous told Inside Politic on Wednesday.
Mahlangu and Hlongwa were ordered to step down from the provincial leadership after they were accused of bringing the ANC into disrepute.
Mahlangu has been blamed for the deaths of Life Esidimeni patients while she was MEC.
Hlongwa was implicated in a report by the SIU in alleged corrupt activities totalling R1,2 billion.
Diko, alongside Masuku and his wife Loyiso Masuku were also investigated by the party’s integrity committee in Gauteng in connection with the tender that was awarded to Royal Bhaca, a company owned by Diko’s husband, Amabhaca King Madzikane II Thandisizwe.
Masuku and Loyiso are friends with the Dikos.
The PEC, during its meeting last weekend, referred the report by the integrity commission to the provincial working committee after members argued that the report was riddled with inconsistencies and had gaps in its finding.
The Integrity Commission is reported have cleared Diko and Loyiso but made adverse findings against Masuku on a leadership role, which was not the focus of the investigation.
It was on this basis that the provincial integrity commission reportedly recommended he must resign from office.
The investigation against Diko, Masuku and Loyiso, is also believed to have divided the party along factional lines, with Masuku’s supporters saying his opponents within the ANC were out to destroy his reputation to curtail his leadership ambitions as the next ANC chairperson in the province with Diko serving as his deputy.
Loyiso has been touted as the next regional chairperson in Johannesburg.
ANC insiders have also told Inside Politic that Masuku is being targeted because he refused to take instructions from some of his senior ANC comrades, to channel lucrative contracts to provide coal within Gauteng hospitals and the construction work within the local hospitals to businesses linked to a dominant faction within the ANC.
“There’s no turning back. The mandate is clear that he [Masuku] must go. He refused to listen to them when they told him not to touch the coal contracts in hospitals,” said a senior Gauteng government official close to Masuku.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)