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Former GP health MEC Masuku calls disciplinary ‘unfair’

The disciplinary process against former health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku has concluded with the committee expected to give its outcomes to the provincial executive committee (PEC) within days. ANC secretary in Gauteng Jacob Khawe confirmed this to the Mail & Guardian, saying that the process was concluded on Sunday. 

The M&G understands that Masuku gave evidence to the committee where he relayed his innocence, claiming that the process against him was “unfair”, one source said. 

“The process went according to the rules on Saturday and Sunday on Dr Masuku. All presentations were done. The full hearing happened, and the disciplinary committee will then have a meeting to discuss and make a ruling,” Khawe said. 

Dr Bandile Masuku was fired by Gauteng premier David Makhura in October for alleged corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Gauteng at the beginning of the government’s Covid-19 pandemic response in March.

This alleged malfeasance included awarding a R139-million contract to Chief Thandisizwe Diko, the recently deceased husband of suspended presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko.

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probed the awarding of the multimillion-rand contract and made adverse findings, which led to the axing of Masuku. 

The SIU in October found that Masuku knew about the irregular procurement process in his department because the chief financial officer and the head of supply chain management had kept him informed. 

Parallel to the SIU’s investigation, Masuku commissioned forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who found Masuku had done nothing wrong. 

Masuku, together with Khusela Diko, was then summoned to appear before the party’s integrity committee, which together with the PEC recommended that the two appear before the disciplinary committee. The two, who stand to lose their powerful positions as PEC members, were charged with bringing the party into disrepute. 

A source who is close to the matter said that as part of his evidence Masuku and his legal team presented O’Sullivan’s report while making arguments on his innocence. 

Khusela Diko’s ANC hearing was postponed after her husband, Chief Thandisizwe, died on 22 February.

The source said Masuku also called for the ANC to halt its investigation against him until the matter has been exhausted by the courts. Masuku has gone to the high court to challenge the validity of the SIU’s findings. 

The M&G understands that the government’s disciplinary hearings, which were to run in parallel with the ANC’s process, against the suspended presidency spokesperson, were also postponed. 

“We discussed the difficulty as it relates to Diko. It would be inhumane to convene a hearing. There was a suggestion that perhaps later this week, somebody must talk to her to establish a direction,” Khawe said, adding that the disciplinary committee is also under pressure to conclude its work before the 20 March deadline. 

Khawe said the disciplinary committee has also approached the national disciplinary appeals committee to establish a way forward should it not meet the deadline. 

“We are in that dilemma, and we have to respect her situation; we don’t have a choice,” he said. 

Presidency acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale said the process has commenced adding that the presidency will not comment on disciplinary proceedings while these processes are underway.

Masuku could not be reached for comment.

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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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