Gauteng Premier David Makhura has been cleared of allegations that he was involved in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement corruption.
Guns were drawn for the Premier after the Special Investigating Union’s Special Tribunal omitted to include the words “Office of the Premier” in a damning judgment that found some officials in Makhura’s office manipulated the awarding of PPE contracts.
They did this by apparently giving the office’s former Chief Financial Officer, Kabelo Lehoenya, names of companies to be appointed as service providers for PPE.
Makhura then moved swiftly to request that the judge in the matter corrects the error, which was promptly done.
“I am happy that the statement has been corrected, making it clear that there were no allegations made against the Premier’s involvement in the PPE procurement allegations,” he says.
This comes amid calls for the premier to vacate office, with some alleging that various governance failures, including the Esidimeni tragedy, happened under his watch and he was never held to account for them.
The Special Investigating Unit is investigating the R431 million spent by the Gauteng Education department on deep cleaning and saniters, among other things.
Gauteng premier David Makhura revealed this during a provincial command council briefing on Friday.
The move follows an internal report that shows that the department spent R431 million on sanitation and other COVID-19-related services to schools.
Makhura has rejected insinuations that MEC Panyaza Lesufi might have been involved in the misappropriation of the COVID-19 funds.
“What happened here was there value for money in Education, you can’t just tell without thorough investigation. Who is doing that investigation is the Special Investigating Unit and I know that in addition, MEC Lesufi has said to me that we should task he Auditor General office, and as far as I am concerned, the office of the Auditor General have been working closely with the SIU,” adds Makhura.
“At the moment, there is no allegations that the MEC for Education has a deal in this R400 million and he brought his people there.”
Lesufi has also expressed shock at the exorbitant spending and called for a probe.
Meanwhile, Premier Makhura has denied allegations that he influenced the awarding of COVID-19 PPE contracts to six companies to the former Chief Financial Officer, Katlego Lehloenya.
The Premier says he noted an error in a SIU report that implicates him and has asked the unit to investigate the matter.
On the ANC Youth League’s call that he be probed for fitness to hold office, the Premier says he avail himself to the ANC’s Provincial Integrity Committee should he be required to will do so.
The youth league has welcomed the move, while at the same time reiterating its call that the Premier step aside until he has is cleared of any wrongdoing.
The young lions also wants MEC Lesufi to do the same.
The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng on the other hand wants Makhura to vacate office.
The party has written to the Speaker of the Johannesburg City Council, requesting that she convenes an urgent sitting to debate a motion of no confidence in Premier.