Gauteng premier claims his hands are clean in PPE corruption
Gauteng premier David Makhura has asked the Special Tribunal to rectify an error which seems to purport that he is linked to Covid-19 personal protective equipment corruption.
Makhura has asked the Special Tribunal judge to clarify that in her affidavit, the former department of health CFO Kabelo Lehloenya did not say she received names of who should get the PPE contracts from Makhura himself but rather from his office, which could be anyone.
The mistake, Makhura insists, was made by the judge in his ruling which directly implicated him instead of his office. He says Lehloenya, in her affidavit, did not say she got the names from Makhura personally.
This comes after Sunday World reported over the weekend that Makhura, along with the erstwhile former health MEC Bandile Masuku, had been directly implicated in the PPE looting by Lehloenya.
Makhura insisted that his hands were clean and that he had made an application to the judge who was expected to make the correction soon.
“But, the presiding judge, judge Motlhe, in summarising the judgment made reference in paragraph 14 and paragraph 24 to the fact that she got the names from the premier, the MEC and the HOD. Not from the office but made reference to that,” Makhura said.
“I have since taken the following steps: I have written to the judge to say in the judgment that was correct that we are happy with, that money must be recovered, there is an area where he makes reference, the judge, to what is in the affidavit which is not in the affidavit.
“So we have tabled that application because substituting the office of the premier with the premier is no small error.”
He said he played no role in the looting of the Covid-19 relief funds.
“I’m very clear and I want to reiterate, I have not given any names of any PPE company to any official either in the premier’s office or in the department of health for them to be appointed to provide PPE in Gauteng. I have done a sworn statement in my application to the judge,” he said.
As someone who holds political office, I expect that there will mud thrown at me - but please know I will not throw myself in the mud.David Makhura
Makhura met with the ANC leadership on Thursday night where he and the MEC of education in the province, Panyaza Lesufi, were taken to task over allegations levelled against them or their departments.
Lesufi’s department has been accused of spending over R431m on tenders for decontamination of classrooms which was not a requirement by the health department.
Makhura said he told the ANC leadership in the province that he would be willing to appear before the integrity commission.
“In addition to those legal steps I’ve taken, I’ve also briefed the ANC leadership about the fact that I want to go to the integrity commission, I briefed the ANC provincial leadership on this matter. As these processes are unfolding, I want to go to the integrity commission. I am clear in my mind, I have a clean conscience,” he said.
He said the allegations in Lesufi’s department were now the subject of a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe.
Makhura reiterated that he has never attempted to enrich himself or his friends or comrades since taking office.
“There is no incident, one or two, in any of the departments of the Gauteng provincial government in the last seven years as the premier of Gauteng, I’ve not sought for one occasion to enrich a friend of mine or even a comrade of mine to enrich them.
“I’ve always insisted procedures must be followed, and I’ve also said to my colleagues in cabinet it is important that none of us is involved in corruption. I’ve done that.”
He said there have been attempts to get him but urged his detractors to try something else as they would not get anything on him in relation to corruption.
He said he would continue in his role being in the front-line leadership of the province, especially in the fight against the coronavirus. He would only step down when and if the ANC asked him to do so.
“I always say that we are deployed at the service of the ANC. I will not [step down] on the occasion of an orchestrated campaign to discredit me, to cast aspersions and to cast doubt on my integrity. The only thing I will fight for is my personal integrity, I have nothing else than my personal integrity to defend.
“As someone who holds political office, I expect that there will mud thrown at me but please know I will not throw myself in the mud. I won’t wrestle in the mud.”