Masuku SIU PPE

TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 10: Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku. Photo by Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu)

‘Investigation ongoing’: SIU hit back at Bandile Masuku ‘vindication’ claims

The SIU said that their investigation into Bandile Masuku is ongoing, and that his claims that he has been vindicated are untrue.

Masuku SIU PPE

TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 10: Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku. Photo by Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu)

After the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) cleared both former spokesperson Khusela Diko and former Gauteng Heath MEC Bandile Masuka of wrongdoing relating to dodgy PPE procurement, the Special investigating Unit (SIU) have now acted to set the record straight. 

The SIU responded to Masuka’s claims on Saturday that the decision by the ANC signals the end of the issue, saying they remain active in their efforts to conclude their investigation and as a result do not accept the position that anything has been finalised. 

SIU respond to Masuku 

In a statement released on Sunday 23 May, the SIU said that if Masuku’s statements are not corrected, they would have the effect of affecting the credibility of the SIU findings and to mislead the public.

“The SIU submitted evidence and successfully argued before the full bench of the High Court that Dr. Bandile Masuku failed to exercise his responsibility in the oversight of the Gauteng Department of Health and that his failure to exercise required oversight contributed to the malfeasance, maladministration, malpractice and the total disregard of the rule of law that characterised the looting of public funds meant to fight COVID-19 in the Gauteng Department of Health,” they said. 

“On 22 May 2021, Masuku issued a media statement in which he again claimed that the full bench of the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division emphatically found that the SIU’s findings that he was involved in corruption and nepotism are devoid of merit and amounted to mere opinions. He further said that the SIU had effectively propped him as the proverbial poster boy of COVID-19 corruption.

They said that the SIU has never made a finding of corruption and nepotism against the sacked MEC of Health, as the investigations were still going on.

SIU didn’t make Masuku ‘poster boy for corruption’

The SIU said that Masuku’s suggestion that he has been vindicated after the ANC made the ruling and overturned his suspension is problematic, and denied that he is the victim of a campaign in which he became the “poster boy for corruption”. 

“The SIU is on record stating that, at the time of making a referral to the Gauteng Premier to take action against Dr. Masuku, it had concluded the process and administrative part of the investigation of the Gauteng Health Department procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to fight the pandemic. The criminal investigation is still ongoing. When evidence pointing to criminality is uncovered during the criminal investigation, the SIU will refer such evidence to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks for further action.”

“The interpretation of the High Court judgment by Dr. Masuku is flawed, as he would like to project himself as if he has been vindicated when he has lost and the Court has even awarded a punitive order for him to pay the SIU the costs for two counsel. The issue of him being corrupt or not was not part of what the Court had to determine, as the SIU had not even made a determination on it yet. The SIU is in the process of recovering the cost from him.”

Investigating Unit refer to High Court judgement 

In order to substantiate their position, the SIU referred to Paragraph 67 of the judgment of the full bench of the High Court, which they said contradicts Masuku’s claims:

“The SIU saw no crime having been committed by Dr Masuku. The SIU saw no basis for civil action against Dr Masuku. Indeed, it decided there was no action it could or should take,” the judgement reads. 

“The SIU faithfully reported what it had learned to the Premier and the President. It deemed Dr Masuku’s conduct to be wanting. To form such an opinion is plainly within its scope of functions. No irrationality can exist in the SIU being disappointed by Dr Masuku’s discharge of his role. The fact that Dr Masuku held a different view about his accountability is unimportant. The SIU had no obligation to defer Dr Masuku’s perspective, which he voiced fully and was part of the matrix of facts investigated.”

“The only finding made by the SIU against Masuku was his failure to execute his duties as MEC of the health department, which has allowed the malfeasance, maladministration, malpractice and the total disregard of the rule of law to continue under his ‘leadership’.”