THE embattled presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko has taken leave of absence amid reports that a R124 million tender was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects, owned by her husband, Amabaca King Madzikazi II Thandisizwe.
In a statement issued on Monday night, the Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said Diko has requested the Presidency to allow her to take leave of absence from all official roles in government, pending investigations on recent allegations involving her and her husband in tender irregularities in the Gauteng Department of Health.
“The Minister in The Presidency, who is her immediate supervisor, as well as the President of the Republic, have accepted her request for leave of absence whilst the allegations are being investigated,” said Mthembu. The Presidency has appointed Mr Tyrone Seale to act in the position of spokesperson to the President while Ms Diko is on leave.
The Sunday Independent reported how a R124 million tender was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects, established last year January and had no track record of supplying of PPE.
Other reports said that the Diko family has close ties with the wife of Gauteng health MEC’s Loyiso Masuku who is also a councillor in Johannesburg.
Diko is also a member of the Gauteng African National Congress (ANC) provincial executive committee.
On July 23, in the wake of the media reports, Diko denied the allegations her and her husband.
“There was no tender bonanza. I am informed that the two commitment letters in question were not implemented. No public funds were disbursed to Royal Bhaca for services rendered either wholly or in part,” she said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.
“There is no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of myself, my husband or Royal Bhaca. I wish to thank the presidency for timeously acceding to my request. It is of the utmost importance that the work of the presidency and government as a whole is not undermined or adversely impacted by these allegations, especially at this time when our nation’s focus is on battling the Covid-19 pandemic.”
(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)