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Makhura: Corruption claims have eroded public confidence in Gauteng govt

This as the SIU is probing more than 100 companies in Gauteng alone that have been linked to questionable tenders as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: @GautengProvince/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Thursday said that the allegations of corruption involving COVID-19 relief funds had profoundly eroded public confidence in his administration.

Makhura said that prior to these tender corruption allegations, the province had built a track record of improving transparency and accountability.

"There is no doubt that the scale of these allegations has eroded public confidence in the work of the collective that I have the honour to lead in this province. But also, these allegations have profoundly undermined the tremendous work done by various sectors, our healthcare workers across the province in the fight against COVID-19," he said.

The premier said that these allegations had overshadowed the commendable work that Health MEC Bandile Masuku had done in the fight against COVID-19.

“I must say that I am disappointed, at this point. I am really, really disappointed to have an MEC, who has been leading from the front very well, facing allegations that I can’t ignore,” Makhura said.

“We can’t sit here and say ‘no, what you are saying is true’. I may believe but there must be somebody who can say, ‘hey you might have not done something but did other things happen in your name?’” he added.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is probing more than 100 companies in Gauteng alone that have been linked to questionable tenders as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Provincial Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and his wife have been accused of influencing decisions on the awarding of a tender for personal protective equipment (PPE). The tender was awarded to Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko’s husband, amaBhaca chief Madzikane Diko.

'It was an error in judgement’: King Madzikane, Diko respond to PPE scandal

Masuku and Diko have been referred to the ANC’s integrity committee, the Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) announced on Thursday.

Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo will act in Masuku’s position while the Health MEC takes a leave of absence.

‘CHARGE OFFICIALS FOUND GUILTY OF CORRUPTION’

At the same time, Makhura said that any officials found guilty of COVID-19 tender corruption would be criminally charged, even if they resigned.

He said that in May, the provincial audit services flagged the irregularities in emergency procurement.

The premier said that immediately after that an investigation was launched and Gauteng Health CFO Karabo Lehloenya resigned.

“If an official is found to have been involved in corruption, whether they have reigned or not is not the issue, they must be found,” Makhura said.

Makhura said that along with the 102 companies under the microscope, some officials were also being investigated for enabling COVID-19 fund corruption.

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