THE SPOKESPERSON for President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a leave of absence from all of her official duties pending an investigation into alleged tender irregularities involving her husband, the Presidency said on Monday.
According to a statement issued by the Presidency, Khusela Diko requested the leave of absence 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 ANC’s 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 R2.2 billion PPE tender awarded to 75 companies – over three months – by Gauteng’s health department. Royal Bhaca Projects was reportedly awarded contracts that amounted to R47 million and R78 million.
The prices for the equipment Diko’s company supplied were also allegedly 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 DA called for a probe, while the 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.
– African News Agency (ANA)