Presidency gives Khusela Diko more time to respond to disciplinary charges
Suspended presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko's disciplinary hearing has been delayed because of the death of her husband, Madzikane II Thandisizwe.
This was revealed by the deputy minister in the presidency Thembi Siweya during a question-and-answer session of the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon.
Diko is on suspension after a Special Investigating Unit investigation which was prompted by the multimillion-rand personal protective equipment scandal at the Department of Health in Gauteng.
Diko was implicated after her late husband, Thandisizwe, scored two multimillion-rand tenders from the department which was then led by MEC Bandile Masuku.
Masuku and his wife, Loyiso, are friends with the Dikos. Gauteng premier David Makhura has since sacked Masuku over the tender debacle.
Diko is facing a disciplinary hearing after she allegedly failed to declare her interests. But while she was on suspension, her husband died. She had been given a deadline of February 24 to respond to the allegations against her.
She is also facing a disciplinary hearing, together with Masuku, brought by the ANC Gauteng, where she is a member of the provincial executive committee.
“However, while the internal process was still under way, Ms Diko's husband unexpectedly passed away, which prompted her legal representatives to request an extension to provide her formal responses to the allegations contained in the SIU referral letter.
“The presidency deemed it appropriate to grant Ms Diko an extension until March 25 2021 so that she can respond to the allegations,” said Siweya.
She said the presidency could not respond on the issue of a new spokesperson while Diko's disciplinary hearing was under way.
Siweya was responding to a question by EFF MP Veronica Mente who had asked for an update on the disciplinary hearing and whether President Cyril Ramaphosa was going to appoint a permanent spokesperson.
Mente said that there was a bad tendency within the government to delay cases of maladministration, leading it to spend millions paying officials on suspension.
She said in Diko's case, there was a thorough investigation by the SIU and asked why the presidency was not using that to make a finding against her.
“It is not true that we are promoting corruption, we are prolonging it and that we don't want to do anything about it. The facts are that to show that when there is something wrong we quickly deal with it and we address it,” said Siweya.
She said the presidency was doing everything to ensure that the matter of Diko was resolved.
DA MP Solly Malatsi also slammed the presidency for the delay in handling Diko's case, saying “the presidency is supposed to be a model of exemplary behaviour, so what does this say about the presidency itself?”