Dr. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize must release the names of all the directors of companies that have signed Covid-19 contracts with the nine provincial governments, the DA is demanding.
It follows controversial allegations recently that the Gauteng Department of Health has awarded a tender of R125 million to King Thandisizwe Diko, of the amaBhaca tribe’s company Royal Bhaka Projects for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The king is married to Khusela Diko, spokeswoman for pres. Cyril Ramaphosa. She has meanwhile requested that she be temporarily relieved of her duties while the matter is investigated.
The DA says the contracts with provincial governments for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) amount to about R2 billion nationwide.
Siviwe Gwarube, DA spokesperson on health, says she will send parliamentary questions to Mkhize about this.
She says the minister must also disclose information about the history of work that the companies involved have done for the state or any other entities in the medical field, as well as the status of all these contracts.
Meanwhile, the provincial executive committee (PUK) of the ANC in Gauteng will hold a special meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning so that the Gauteng government can inform it of the developments regarding alleged corruption with the Covid-19 tenders.
The PUK meeting follows after Jacob Khawe, provincial secretary of the ANC, met with various role players on Monday. He spoke separately with David Makhura, Gauteng premier, dr. Bandile Masuku, MEC for health, Thandisizwe Diko and Masuku’s wife, Loyiso Lugayeni-Masuku, an ANC mayoral committee member, meet.
This past weekend, it was alleged that Thandisizwe Diko had close ties with Lugayeni-Masuku. The award of the tender to the king’s company was apparently part of a fundraiser for Lugayeni-Masuku to become chairman of the ANC’s Johannesburg region.
Masuku, who denies any involvement in the Gauteng health department’s procurement process, said earlier that he had asked Makhura to conduct a forensic investigation. Allegations that he is involved are untrue, he says.
The Special Investigation Unit (SOE) has earlier confirmed that it is investigating the Gauteng Department of Health’s procurement processes with the PPE.
About 90 companies have signed Covid-19 contracts with the Gauteng government.
Thandisizwe Diko denies the contract of R125 million, and says a tender of R78 million has been canceled in the meantime.
He was appointed last year by Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Communications and Digital Technology, as a board member of the digital state infrastructure company (which was composed of the former Sentech and Broadband Infraco).
Meanwhile, the Gauteng branch of the trade union Cosatu, an alliance partner of the ANC, also joined the fight on Tuesday morning. Cosatu demands that Masuku, who is responsible as political head of the Gauteng department of health, like Khusela Diko, should stand aside for the time being and let the investigations go ahead.
“These are serious allegations and must be investigated immediately. Action must be taken if misconduct is found to have been committed.
Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa promised us there would be change. He also said that in the ‘new beginning’ of the ANC, the time will pass for people who have transgressed to continue clinging to their posts, “said Amos Monyela, chairman of Cosatu, in a statement.
Ramaphosa last week announced the establishment of a special center that will investigate corruption in the fight against Covid-19.
This center consists of, among others, the Falcons, the SOE, the national prosecuting authority and the South African Revenue Service.