Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the allegations of corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is an embarrassment to his administration.
Makhura told the media that the province could not embark on an open tender system due to the urgent need for PPEs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Makhura stressed that the open tender regime implemented worked well for the province.
However, he said emergency procurement circulars from the national treasury were adequate but that the system was abused.
“Given our track record in improving audit outcomes and improving transparency as shown by the reports of the Auditor-General, these allegations we are facing now have profoundly eroded public confidence in the government I have the honour to lead,” a visibly agitated Makhura said.
“These allegations have also undermined the tremendous work by various sectors such as our health care workers in the fight against COVID-19,” he added.
Makhura was speaking after the provincial ANC, which he chairs said health MEC Bandile Masuku, and his wife Joburg MMC of group corporate Loyiso Masuku have been instructed to take a leave of absence while they are being investigated over jobs for pals scandal.
The multimillion rand scandal also involves President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko with allegations that there were irregularities in how a company owned by Diko’s husband, Royal Bhaca Projects, scored contracts worth more than R100 million to supply PPEs.
Diko’s husband and Loyiso are said to enjoy a business relationship. The Masukus and Khusela will also face the ANC’s integrity committee.
Makhura said the Special Investigating Unit had already covered a lot of ground in unearthing malfeasance in the awarding of contracts to supply PPEs and that the provincial treasury had already stopped millions in payments to contractors.
“I can tell you due to the advice of our treasury – an amount of R1 billion which could have been paid to companies was stopped. And consequently many of those contracts were cancelled and others were being cancelled”