Image via: flickr
Professor Mkhululi Lukhele has been placed on precautionary suspension with immediate effect by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Image via: flickr
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has placed Head of the Health Department Professor Mkhululi Lukhele under precautionary suspension with immediate effect. This comes after an update report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into COVID-19 corruption.
According to a statement released by the premier himself on Wednesday 30 September, Makhura is acting on the recommendations of the SIU following an update report which was presented to him on 22 September 2020.
“The Special Investigating Unit found that Lukhele failed to exercise his responsibility in the awarding of contracts to certain companies for the procurement of goods and services in relation to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Makhura.
“The actions or omission by the HOD may have resulted in the department incurring the fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” he added.
Lukhele will remain in precautionary suspension pending the completion of the investigations by the SIU and disciplinary proceedings for misconduct.
Apart from Lukhele, most of us now know that Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku was also ordered to take a temporary leave of absence following a PEC meeting on Wednesday 29 July.
Masuku’s wife, Johannesburg’s MMC for Group Corporate and Shared Services, Loyiso Masuku also took a leave of absence after being linked to a R125 million tender for personal protective equipment (PPE) which was allegedly awarded to King Madzikane II Diko, husband to Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko.
Diko released a statement saying that there was “no corruption” regarding the awarding of the tender to her husband’s company Royal Bhaca Projects.
“Although there was no corruption in the bidding and subsequent awarding of the PPE contract to Royal Bhaca Projects, we accept that years of cronyism have created an environment of mistrust and suspicion when individuals, who are close to political office and influence, are seen to be benefiting from the State in ways that may be unethical,” it added.
Diko and Maszikane attempted to rectify the matter by seeking to cancel the contract.
“We deeply regret the error of judgement that led Royal Bhaca to seek to do business with this Department in the first place,” the statement added.
In early August, Makhura denied claims he too was linked to PPE corruption. He said he would pursue legal action to clear his name after social media posts alleged that Makhura’s wife and an alleged girlfriend were awarded lucrative contracts.
The premier’s office released a statement saying; “as a matter of principle, neither the Premier’s wife nor children do business with government, and this is a matter agreed upon when Premier Makhura joined government. The allegations are false and will not pass scrutiny.”
“Much like the earlier fake news about the Premier’s relationship with a certain Hamilton Ndlovu, these lies will never pass the test of scrutiny by any investigation. Again, these allegations are false and those who made them do not feel any obligation to (prove),” it added.