The EFF have called for the “immediate dismissal” of President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, after a company owned by her husband reportedly scored a multimillion-rand contract to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Gauteng department of health for the Covid-19 pandemic.
The red berets said “it cannot be that” a company owned by Diko’s husband “was awarded a tender swiftly after the announcement of the national lockdown and no undue influence was gained as a result of his proximity to the presidency”.
The party also called for a probe into the tender process which resulted in the contract being awarded to Diko’s husband.
It was reported by Sunday Independent that Royal Bhaca Projects, a company owned by Diko’s husband, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, was awarded contracts amounting to R125 million days after Ramaphosa declared a national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. Diko was reportedly awarded two contracts, one amounting to R47 million and another to R78 million.
In a written response to the Sunday Independent, Diko said: “Royal Bhaca Projects does not have a contract with the Department of Health. The company has also not been paid anything by the Department of Health.
“The company had submitted a quotation to the Department in response to a public call the Department had made for emergency procurement of personal protective equipment.
“A commitment letter of R78 million not R139 million was received. The Department cancelled the commitment letter at my request after realising that there could be a perception of a potential conflict of interest as you now allege.”
However, the department’s Covid-19 expenditure report shows that Royal Bhaca was awarded another R47m PPE contract on March 30, two days before it got the one for R78m on April 1.
The red berets further expressed their shock at reports that Diko’s company “inflated the cost of the PPEs … to amounts that were significantly above the regulated prices”, prices which the party pointed out had been put in place “to prevent parasitic companies such as Diko’s from exploiting a human crisis for personal benefit”.
The EFF said it was “disgusted by the apparent conflict of interest” in the awarding of these contracts.
“The EFF condemns this blatant conflict of interest which sees the kin of government officials profiting from a global pandemic.
“We have long argued that the tender system in South Africa is a method used to loot state coffers by exploitative companies and the only way to avoid this is to build state capacity to manufacture goods and provide services,” the red berets said.
The DA has also called for the ‘fishy’ PPE contract ‘scored by Diko’s husband’ to be probed.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)