Axed Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku has lashed out at an SIU report that got him sacked, describing it as “a smoking gun in a movie of smoke and mirrors”.
Masuku was fired by his boss, Gauteng premier David Makhura on Friday, after a report by the SIU placed him firmly at the centre of PPE irregular procurement by the province’s health department, saying not only did he know about it, but he “promoted it, facilitated it, allowed it and/or merely turned a blind-eye and failed to do anything about it”.
Commenting on his axing in a 13-page media statement, Masuku fired a broadside at the SIU, accusing it of either bowing to public pressure or venturing into political games.
“The SIU is either under extreme pressure from the legitimate public outcry against corruption and the need to ensure accountability or it is deliberately engaged in politics for ends that are yet to be established,” said Masuku in his lengthy statement.
He said we would mount a court challenge against the SIU report, asking it to set aside its findings.
Masuku got embroiled in the PPE scandal after Royal Bhaca, a company owned by Thandisizwe Diko, husband to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, scored a R125m tender from his department.
Masuku is family friends with the Dikos.
However, a defiant Masuku lambasted the SIU report, saying it was peppered with inaccuracies and innuendos.
“The SIU report makes incorrect and non-factual findings about my role as executive authority. It is unclear whether the report is final, and to this end I have written to the premier to explain to him that in fact, and in law, I will be exercising my rights in law to review the findings in a court of law to set them aside,” said Masuku.
He felt strongly that the SIU report had ignored all other affidavits, including his, and had chosen to rely on one affidavit.
“[The report]makes no reference to the information, facts and documentary evidence presented by me and my office. [It] confuses the roles of an executive authority and the accounting officer and thereby undermines the principle of the separation accountability. [and] makes no connection between evidence and findings,” said Masuku.
He maintained that there was no evidence pointing to his interference with PPE procurement and that he did not steal people’s money.
Masuku said the report uses innuendos in a manner that gives an impression that they are engaged in political speech rather than the search for truth and facts.
“[The report]relies on untested evidence which is then used to make insinuations and arrive at erroneous findings. [it] relies on wrong sections of the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] to make inaccurate and unprecedented findings which may undermine proper governance itself.
“[It] Imposes decisions and powers on me that I have nothing to do with, even though evidence and prescripts point to a different reality,” said Masuku.
He said law enforcement agencies must never substitute principle for populism.
Despite being kicked out as MEC, Masuku will retain his position as a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature.