Masuku loses appeal against SIU report on Covid graft

An “ill-founded” complaint related to the R125-million “perpetration of grotesque irregularities” in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) has seen former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku’s legal challenge thrown out of court.

On Monday, the high court in Pretoria dismissed the review of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report brought by Masuku. He had sought to review findings that “administrative action” should be taken against him in the alleged corrupt buying of PPE as part of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic

The SIU report had recommended to Gauteng Premier David Makhura that action be taken against Masuku for his alleged negligence, which supposedly began in March and April last year when “commitment letters” were signed to grant Royal Bhaca a combined R125.5-million contracts for PPE procurement. 

The Royal Bhaca director, Thandisizwe Diko, who died in February, was the husband of the former presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko.   

Makhura axed Masuku in October, which elicited the former MEC’s review application of the SIU report. 

In a statement released on his behalf by Mojalefa Motalane, the lawyer said Masuku welcomed the court’s ruling that there was no basis for civil action against him. 

“Dr Masuku further welcomes the conclusion that ‘he is not accused of corruption or nepotism and that the so-called findings of the SIU are mere opinions that the premier should not have relied upon to make any form of decision against him,” Motalane said. 

In its decision, the court said: “… the SIU was not at all irrational in forming its opinion. The SIU saw no crime having been committed by Dr Masuku. The SIU saw no basis for civil action against Dr Masuku.”

The court also asserted that Makhura had the prerogative to choose members of his executive. “It is accepted by the parties in this matter that the premier was entitled to appoint and remove MECs as he saw fit, pursuant to a prerogative he enjoyed.” 

Motalane said: “Although, on the whole, the judgment removes any doubt in the eyes of the public that Dr Masuku was involved in any PPE procurement or benefited financially, this has been the public perception and it is now put to rest.” 

Motalane added that they were studying the judgment, and that “appropriate action will be communicated as soon as possible”.

The full bench, led by Acting Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland, found that the “public have a legitimate interest in the unmasking of incompetent public servants”. 

The court slapped Masuku with a costs order, including for two senior counsel. It was a “misconception” for the former MEC to believe he had the right to view the outcomes before they were made public. 

“When news of improprieties was brought to his attention, he was content to fob off the investigation to the internal auditors and take no steps to inform himself at all to assess the status quo and intervene urgently. In my view, the SIU was not at all irrational in forming its opinion,” Sutherland wrote.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Khaya Koko
Khaya Koko is a journalist with a penchant for reading through legal documents braving the ravages of cold court benches to expose the crooked. He writes about social justice and human-interest stories. Most importantly, he is a card-carrying member of the Mighty Orlando Pirates.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Turn side hustles into full-time work

Resilience alone in the face of crisis is not what will get us through. It needs to be coupled with intentional investment and support to address the reality of our country’s youth

Are mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations a violation of human rights?

The issue is a complex one, and nearly impossible to enforce

How birds adapt to rising heat is an early warning...

Birds living in hot, humid climates have evolved to handle larger spikes in body temperature

Panyaza Lesufi elected ANC Gauteng chairman by slim margin

The conference was characterised by numerous delays and was poorly organised, garnering outrage from delegates

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…