Masuku asked to step aside

ANC showdown is expected as PEC meets today (Sunday)

The ANC integrity commission in Gauteng has cleared MEC for health Bandile Masuku of

corruption in relation to the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Sunday World can reveal that the commission has, however, recommended that Masuku step aside from the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) for failing to exercise sufficient oversight over the awarding of PPE contracts by the department.

A big fight is expected to ensue today when the PEC discusses the future of Masuku and his wife, Loyiso, and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko.

The recommendation that Masuku steps aside as a PEC member has plunged Premier David Makhura into a tight corner, as he will be expected to drop the medical doctor from his provincial cabinet.

Masuku and Diko were drawn into the saga after it emerged that the latter’s husband, AmaBhaca Chief Madzikane ll Thandisizwe Diko, was awarded R125-million in contracts to

supply PPE. Diko has since said the contract was cancelled on the advice of his wife, Khusela, who cited a possible conflict of interest since she is a member of the ANC provincial executive committee in Gauteng.

Khusela is friends with the Masukus. In his reply to the findings, Masuku said the commission did not explain what it meant by “sufficient oversight,” also adding that the Gauteng government had decided to centralise oversight of the Covid-19 response to the provincial command council and a provincial war room.

“I would submit and implore the PIC to take into account the unique nature of oversight, management and operational aspects of the entire Covid-19 response plan. This will, in my humble submission, enable the ANC and public to glean from an important position of education: the fact that Covid-19 is unprecedented, complex and global,” he said.

“The other important lesson that may be is the fact that Gauteng has done exceptionally well so far in the fight against Covid-19,” he added.

He called on the commission to reconsider his submission and its findings against him, which included that he lacked accountability and transparency.

Masuku explained that he had increased transparency over procurement of PPE by establishing a virtual portal for suppliers and noted that he Makhura and he addressed the media every week as part of accounting to the nation.

A PEC member said there was bound to be blood on the floor when the PEC meets, as those

supporting Masuku would defend him. But another PEC member said it was unlikely that Masuku would survive the fight that would be put up by his opponents. He said the PPE scandal had damaged the image of the governing party. “Loyiso was a common denominator.

There is definitely a conflict of interest. The image of the ANC was damaged,” he explained.

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