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 Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on Premier David Makhura to take a special leave pending the outcome of the Special Investigating Unit’s COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) probe.
The calls comes after news emerged that former Gauteng Health Department chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya, had implicated Makhura in the scandal.
In her affidavit at the special tribunal, Lehloenya stated that Premier Makhura gave her the names of the companies to appoint to supply and deliver PPEs in the province.
“The DA is not surprised to learn that Premier Makhura has been implicated in the awarding of the multi-million personal protective equipment (PPEs) tenders. This PPE corruption scandal happened under Makhura’s watch and he did not do anything to prevent it. The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask the SIU to urgently investigate these allegations levelled against the Gauteng Premier,” says the DA’s Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga.
The Economic Freedom Fighters in the province has on the other hand called for Mkhura to resign over the matter, while the Cosatu affiliated nurses’ union, DENOSA, has urged him to take special leave.
In October, DENOSA Gauteng chairperson, Simphiwe Gada, said the union would work with Makhura once the SIU’s investigation is complete and his name is cleared.
The union says the Premier has a tendency of escaping accountability.
It has cited the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which claimed the lives of 143 psychiatric patients after the Gauteng health department moved at least 1 700 patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs and state facilities in 2016.