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Special Investigating Unit probes Covid-19 tenderpreneurs

In the past weeks, the public has been affronted by a slew of allegations of seemingly rampant tender corruption and profiteering by politically connected individuals through Covid-19 emergency procurement.

Royal Bhaca Projects was awarded a tender from the Gauteng department of health for personal protective equipment (PPE) amounting to R125-million.

The company is owned by the disputed amaBhaca King, Thandisizwe Diko. He is the husband of presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko. The Sunday Independent linked the Diko family and Gauteng MEC of health, Bandile Masuku, through his wife Loyiso. 

The MEC has denied being involved in the matter, saying he strongly refutes “any suggestion that Covid-19 procurement is being used as a means to raise funds ahead of ANC conferences”. In a statement, the Dikos said they “deeply regret the error of judgment that led Royal Bhaca to seek to do business with this department in the first place”.

Responding to the allegations, Gauteng Premier David Makhura revealed that 102 companies doing business with the province have been identified for investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). The SIU is also reportedly investigating R30-million worth of allegedly irregular contracts in KwaZulu-Natal, and others in the Eastern Cape. The entity is also investigating the Beitbridge border post’s new R37-million Covid-19-purposed fence. 

Over the past week more details surfaced linking other ANC heavyweights to Covid-19 tenders. 

The Daily Maverick reported that Tuwo Rhodesia, a company owned by Katlego Mokonyane, the daughter of former Gauteng premier and ANC national executive committee member Nomvula Mokonyane, was also awarded a tender by the Gauteng department of health. The R2.7-million contract was reportedly for supplying soap. 

The media outlet also reported that ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s eldest son, Tshepiso, was awarded a R2.29-million contract by the Free State treasury for goods and services related to the province’s fight against Covid-19. Magashule’s younger son, Thato, was awarded a R427 221 contract through his company, Marvel Deeds. 

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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