Makhura told appointment urgent

Gauteng ANC pushes for new health MEC to replace Masuku

Dr Bandile Masuku.
Dr Bandile Masuku.
Image: Gallo Images

Gauteng will soon have a new department of health MEC after the ANC in the province mandated premier David Makhura to replace the erstwhile Bandile Masuku.

Makhura axed Masuku as the MEC of health but said he would not replace him until investigations into allegations of corruption related to the personal protective equipment (PPE) in the department were completed.

Though the provincial executive committee (PEC) unanimously accepted and welcomed the decision to fire Masuku, it was however against Makhura’s stance not to replace Masuku and felt the department cannot go on without an MEC during a Covid-19 pandemic that has the potential to resurge.

The provincial department of health is currently without an MEC, head of department (HOD), chief financial officer (CFO) and deputy director-general (DDG) after they were suspended based on the preliminary findings of the special investigating unit into the Covid-19 PPE corruption scandal. These positions are being filled on an acting basis.

“Strengthening the department must be one of the urgent priorities of the premier and that of the executive council,” Gauteng provincial treasurer Parks Tau said.

“This includes the urgent appointment of the new MEC and HOD so that they can lead the battle against Covid-19 and focus on improving the quality of public health in the province of Gauteng.”

The filling of the vacancies left by Masuku, the HOD, CFO and DDG is expected to be actioned immediately with Makhura having called a meeting with the ANC provincial office bearers to discuss possible names of replacements by Monday.

“I can confirm that on Monday the premier has requested to consult with office bearers and amongst the discussions I think it will be on the process to fill those vacancies. So we will indeed deal with those aspects,” ANC Gauteng deputy chairperson Panyaza Lesufi said.

Masuku and presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko have also been asked to step aside from all party activities as they go through the provincial disciplinary committee. This as Masuku’s wife and MMC at the City of Johannesburg Loyiso Masuku is expected to return to work after the PEC decided there was no proof of her involvement in the alleged corruption that took place at the provincial department of health.

“The PEC decided that comrade Bandile Masuku and comrade Khusela Diko should be referred to the provincial disciplinary committee of the ANC,” Tau said.

“In order to protect the integrity of the ANC and of the affected comrades, the PEC further decided that comrade Bandile and comrade Khusela should step aside from organisational activities pending the finalisation of the disciplinary process.

“Allegations against Loyiso Masuku in relation to her involvement in this regard could not be substantiated and the PEC decided she should resume her duties.”

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Four former officials at the Gauteng department of health made their first appearance in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court. Their case relates to allegations contained in a SIU report from 2018 which shows alleged financial misconduct and corruption that cost the department more than R1.2bn between 2006 and 2010.

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