Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images via Getty Images
- Bandile Masuku has approached the High Court to find the SIU report findings on PPE procurement invalid, unlawful and unconstitutional.
- The High Court in Pretoria dismissed the application.
- But Masuku claimed victory to some extent, saying the judgment removed “public doubt” he was involved in PPE procurement.
Former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku will not appeal a North Gauteng High Court judgment that dismissed his application to challenge the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) findings.
He announced his decision on Tuesday through his legal representative, Mojalefa Motalane.
Masuku believed the High Court judgment “exonerated” him to some extent.
In April, it dismissed his application with costs, including that of two counsels.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura axed Masuku after the SIU placed him at the centre of tender processes in the provincial health department.
He disputed the SIU preliminary report findings and approached the High Court to challenge them. The report fingered Masuku in alleged tender irregularities.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko’s late husband, Chief Thandisizwe Diko II, allegedly received a R125 million tender for personal protective equipment (PPE) through the tender process.
The SIU preliminary report found that Masuku “… failed to execute his function in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act”, News24 previously reported.
But Masuku approached the High Court asking that it rule the report’s findings as unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid, and that it be set aside.
The former MEC claimed the SIU had no “shred of evidence” that he was guilty and relied on evidence from one source. But the High Court found the SIU was not irrational when it formed its “opinion” about the tender process.
Reacting to the ruling, Masuku said he noted it found the unit saw no crime committed by him and there was no basis for civil action.
The ruling also noted the report’s text was substantially padded and it posed an unanswered question about why Masuku supported a decision of the executive council to centralise procurement in the department, and speculating it might have been for nefarious purposes, was unsubstantiated.
Masuku said his decision not to appeal was primarily because the court’s latter findings removed any lingering public doubt on whether he was involved in procurement corruption or irregularities.
“Effectively, the exoneration by the court gives Dr Masuku the main relief he sought because his personal, professional, and political integrity and career was tainted and violated by the SIU without any factual or legal basis. Overall, justice was served,” said Motalane.
Masuku’s legal representative added although the court found he “was plainly not totally unresponsive to the irregularities” because he had endorsed the internal audit of 7 April 2020, the former MEC, however, remained concerned the judgment did not address the contentious issue of executive oversight in greater detail.
This case constituted one of the main reasons for the review application.
Masuku said although the High Court review application was a separate process, he was happy and hopeful such an “exoneration” would yield a positive impact on the ANC internal disciplinary processes he faced.
The ANC Gauteng provincial committee found him guilty of bringing the party into disrepute.
He has since appealed to the party’s national disciplinary committee to overturn the provincial ruling, which he said made “serious errors of judgement”.
“Dr Masuku remains a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC and continues to subject himself to the discipline of his organisation for almost a year now. He remains a member of the Gauteng legislature and volunteers at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.”