Khusela Diko goes on leave following R125m tender scandal
The Spokesperson to the President Ms Khusela Diko, has requested the Presidency to allow her to take leave of absence from all official roles in government pending investigations on recent allegations involving her and her husband in tender irregularities in the Gauteng Department of Health.
The Minister in the Presidency, who is her immediate supervisor, as well as the President of the Republic. have accepted her request for leave of absence whilst the allegations are 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.
The allegations emanated from a Sunday Independent report that a R125 million PPE contract was awarded to AmaBhaca King Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko – Khusela’s husband.
The president’s spokesperson is also a member of the Gauteng’s ANC’s provincial executive committee.
President Ramaphosa had met with Diko last week and was satisfied with her explanation that her husband received the tender fairly.
In her meeting with Ramaphosa last week she was said to have told the president that the moment she heard about the contract, she anticipated a potential conflict of interest and told her husband to walk away from the deal.
It was only when Diko’s relationship with Masuku and his wife was further exposed – and linked to the contract – that Ramaphosa was advised to accept her offer to step aside.
Diko’s decision to take a leave of absence was hailed by Corruption Watch’s head of stakeholder and campaigns Kavisha Pillay who said that it was the right thing to do.
“We believe that in order to conduct a fair and impartial investigation and test the veracity of the serious allegations levelled against Ms Diko and her husband, it was necessary for Ms Diko to step aside and not participate in any further government business until the probe is finalised,” Pillay said.