COVID-19 corruption scandal: Gauteng Health MEC fired

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

THE fraud and corruption scandal surrounding the procurement of hundreds of millions in equipment to fight COVID-19 has claimed the career of a top Gauteng politician.

Dr Bandile Masuku was today fired as Gauteng Health MEC for failure to act when questionable tenders worth over R500-million were awarded by his department.

Masuku was suspended in July after a damning report by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) placed him at the centre of dodgy tenders awarded to companies to provide personal protective equipment.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said he acted against Masuku on the basis of a report by the SIU which found that Masuku has failed to execute his functions in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.

 “Based on the SIU’s findings and recommendations thereof, the course of administrative action I am taking is to discharge Dr Bandile Masuku from his responsibilities as MEC for Health. I have taken cognisance of the contribution that MEC Masuku has made in improving the Department of Health since his appointment and appreciate the leadership he provided during Gauteng’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Accordingly, I have further decided that I will only appoint the new MEC for Health once the SIU has reached finality on its investigation into allegations of corruption and collusion,” Makhura said.

The decision to fire Masuku came on the day that he was cleared by an “independent” forensic investigation. The probe by Paul O’Sullivan absolved Masuku of any wrongdoing.

Makhura said he had not considered the O’Sullivan report and based his decision on the SIU preliminary report. 

Masuku was suspended along with Khusela Diko, a spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Loyiso, who was asked to step aside by the City of Johannesburg, where he is MMC for Corporate Affairs.