President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson has been implicated in alleged tender fraud.
According to a statement issued by the presidency, Khusela Diko requested the leave pending the investigation into tender irregularities in the Gauteng Health Department, in which her husband is allegedly embroiled.
Diko is also a member of the Gauteng provincial executive committee.
The Sunday Independent newspaper broke the story last week, in which Madzikane Diko’s company, Royal Bhaca Projects, received part of a R2.2billion PPE tender awarded to 75 companies – over three months – by Gauteng’s health department. Royal Bhaca Projects was allegedly awarded contracts that amounted to R47million and R78million.
The prices for the equipment Diko’s company supplied were also severely inflated.
Minister in the presidency, Jackson Mthembu, who is Khusela Diko’s immediate supervisor, said he had accepted her request for a leave of absence while the allegations were being investigated.
“The Presidency has appointed Mr Tyrone Seale to act in the position of Spokesperson to the President whilst Ms Diko is on leave,” said the statement.
Once the scandal broke, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) called for a probe, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called for Diko’s immediate dismissal and a probe into the contracts and the tender process.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) called the awarding of the contract a “malicious conflict of interest which sees relatives of public officials benefiting from a global pandemic”, and also called for an investigation.
By last night the ANC was engaged in meetings over the allegations of tender fraud.