President Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko has defended her husband’s procurement of a R125 million PPE tender.
In addition to her role as President Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, which would make the granting of the tender suspicious, Diko and her husband, King Madzikane II Diko, have a close relationship with Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife, Loyiso. The awarding of the tender, along with King Diko’s appointment to several board positions of state entities, sparked public outrage and accusations of nepotism.
However, Diko has now defended himself, claiming innocence, saying that his decision to seek business with the Gauteng health department was “an error in judgement”.
“I deeply regret that these efforts to earn an honest living and improve the well-being of my people are now mired in controversy,” the king said in the statement, according to News24. “We accept that years of cronyism have created an environment of mistrust and suspicion when individuals, who are close to political office and influence, are seen to be benefiting from the state in ways that may be unethical.”
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When asked about their relationship with the Masukus, they said the relationship had existed long before being appointed to office and it was never hidden.
“Over the years, prior to any of us ascended to public office and positions, some members of our families contemplated several business partnerships due to our strong bonds and aspirations in various endeavours, including agriculture and community healthcare among others,” the statement continued. “In the current atmosphere, we accept that such a history between our families will raise suspicion and concern.
“We reiterate and emphasise that at no point did we discuss the extension of our family ties to benefits that will accrue from public sector procurement.”