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Gauteng ANC tells Makhura to explain Covid-19 tender processes, as integrity commission takes over

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Gauteng ANC tells Makhura to explain Covid-19 tender processes, as integrity commission takes over

Gauteng Premier David Makhura

30th July 2020

By: News24Wire

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The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng says it asked its provincial leadership to give an account to the province's residents of how Covid-19 tenders were procured.

The party held a media briefing on Thursday following a special provincial executive committee (PEC) on Wednesday to discuss the R125-million personal protective equipment tender awarded by Gauteng Health to the Amabhaca King Madzikane II Diko.

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The king is married to PEC member and President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko and scored the tender from the department headed by family friend, Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

The two, along with the MEC's wife Loyiso Masuku, who is an MMC in the City of Johannesburg are set to face the party's provincial integrity commission over the claims, with the Masukus placed on leave for the next four weeks.

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Diko took a leave of absence from all her government roles.

News24 also revealed the king and the MMC are business partners, in a venture, which they took control of in 2019, just after the general elections.

The ANC's provincial secretary Jacob Khawe said Premier David Makhura, who is also the party's Gauteng chairperson, presented a report to the PEC but it felt many questions remained unanswered.

Khawe said it showed normal processes were not followed, which usually saw companies applying for the contracts.

"We understand it was a special arrangement. It's like an official in the department would call companies, who would say they can provide, have a discussion with these companies and award a letter to these companies," explained Khawe.

Manipulation 

He said this also demonstrated how government was open to manipulation.

Khawe said the PEC had tasked Makhura with explaining to Gauteng residents how this was allowed to happen, including how procurement processes unfolded and on some of the allegations which had followed.

"The verification of whether indeed there was a tender bonanza; was it like kwa gogo (at Granny's house) where everyone came and took a little bit?" asked Khawe, as he flagged some of the issues the provincial government needed to provide clarity on.

The provincial secretary said while the ANC understood it had no role in telling the specialised investigative unit how to approach investigations, it urged Makhura to "impress" upon it the need for haste in conducting the investigation into tender corruption claims involving the procurement of PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic.

No regrets

Meanwhile the king has described the PEC's decision to take his wife and the Masukus to the integrity commission as "unfortunate" and "irrational".

He said the president's spokesperson, the MEC and the MMC had done nothing wrong, describing them as people who had nothing to do with his business.

The king insisted he had provided the necessary PPE to the department and wasn't paid for it.

Diko also stuck to an argument he and his wife made in a statement on Wednesday: that he tried to pull out of the contracts after she had told him about the "perceived conflict of interest" accusation that would follow.

"I didn't consult with my wife before bidding for the contract, but after I got the contract and she was uncomfortable, but I went ahead," said Diko.

When asked if his company Royal Bacha was suited for the tender, the king asked: "Which company had experience with Covid?" - saying his party had a track record in supply and delivery.

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