Masuku’s statement about SIU ‘misleading’

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has sought to debunk claims made against it by former Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, calling his words misleading. 

In a statement issued this weekend, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the unit submitted and successfully argued to a full bench of the high court that Masuku failed to exercise his oversight responsibility at the Gauteng health department. 

This failure, the SIU says, contributed to malfeasance, maladministration and malpractice and the total disregard for the rule of law that characterised the looting of public funds meant for the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In April, the high court in Pretoria dismissed the review of the 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 personal protective equipment (PPE) in the province 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 in contracts for PPE procurement. 

Royal Bhaca director Thandisizwe Diko, who died in February, was the husband of 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 welcoming his reinstatement to the Gauteng ANC’s provincial executive committee on Saturday, Masuku said that a full bench of the North Gauteng high court emphatically found that the SIU’s findings that he was involved in corruption and nepotism were devoid of merit.

In a damning ruling against the ANC’s provincial executive committee as well as the structures that investigated Masuku and Diko, the ANC national disciplinary committee found that the provincial disciplinary committee misdirected itself in material respects. 

In April, the Mail & Guardian reported that the two were ordered to step aside from all party positions and to desist from speaking on behalf of the organisation until the SIU investigation had been concluded.

“At the time, the SIU had effectively propped me as the proverbial poster boy of Covid-19 related corruption. Specifically, the court found that the SIU saw no crime being committed by me and that there was no basis for civil action against me. In its ruling, the NDC acknowledged the court ruling,” Masuku said.

Kganyago, however, said the SIU had never made a finding of corruption and nepotism against Masuku as the investigation was still underway.

“It is therefore self serving for him to misrepresent to the public what actually transpired. The SIU rejects the notion that we proposed him as the poster boy for corruption. The SIU is on record stating that at the time of making a referral to the Gauteng premier to take action against Masuku, it had concluded the process and administrative part of the investigation of the Gauteng health department procurement of the personal protective equipment to fight the pandemic. 

“The criminal investigation is still ongoing. When the evidence pointing to criminality is uncovered during the criminal investigation, the SIU will refer such evidence to the national prosecuting authority and the Hawks for further action,” Kganyago said. 

Kganyago challenged Masuku to take up his cause with the high court and appeal the judgment. 

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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