Citizen reporter
1 minute read
3 Aug 2020
10:37 am

Newspaper stands by PPE story, won’t retract it or apologise to Dikos

Citizen reporter

The Dikos, through their attorneys, have demanded the Sunday publication to retract the story within 24 hours, withdraw the 'unfounded allegations', and publish an apology.

Khusela Diko. Picture: Twitter

Assistant editor at Independent Newspapers Piet Rampedi tweeted on Sunday that the group stands by its story reported in its publication, the Sunday Independent, that the Gauteng department of health has paid Royal Bhaca Projects, the company owned by the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, Chief Madzikane II Diko, at least R80 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) through a front company, Ledia Structural Development.

This story, published on Sunday, 2 August, follows an initial report by the publication about a R125-million tender that was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects.

Rampedi tweeted that the group does not intend to retract the story published on Sunday nor does it intend to apologise to the Dikos, after the couple’s legal representatives sent Independent Newspapers a letter of demand, in which the report is labelled as “false and untested allegations” deliberately “aimed at mobilising vicious public views against” the Dikos and “tarnishing their dignity”.

“The publication of the above-mentioned article is unlawful, and we hereby demand that you must, within 24 hours, unconditionally withdraw these unfounded allegations and publish an apology for making such allegations and in that apology you must unequivocally state that the allegations are false. Should you fail to do so, we are instructed to approach the high court and pursue our clients’ rights herein,” the letter reads, which Rampedi included in the tweet.

The PPE saga led to Khusela Diko taking a leave of absence, as well as the City of Johannesburg’s group corporate and shared services MMC Loyiso Masuku, the wife of Gauteng health MEC Bandile, who is also on leave due to the scandal.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.