Julius Malema is leading the campaign to get Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson removed from her position. The EFF leader has echoed the growing calls for Khusela Diko to step down, or for the president himself to give his official the boot. Diko, meanwhile, faces crunch talks with the Gauteng ANC on Monday afternoon:
[JUST-IN] The @GautengANC summoned @KhuselaS , MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife Loyiso Masuku whose also a the @ANCJHB DRS & MMC to a meeting today to explain themselves on the tender that was awarded to Royal Bhaca owned Diko’s husband by the Dept of Health. #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/MMtppEGUNF— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) July 27, 2020
Who is Khusela Diko, and what is she accused of?
Diko is accused of profiting directly from the R500 billion COVID-19 war chest announced by the government at the start of the pandemic. The fund was created to keep businesses afloat and ensure that South Africa would have all the medical provisions needed to survive.
Royal Bhaca Projects was awarded contracts worth R125 million by the Gauteng Department of Health on 30 March, days after the president announced a national lockdown. The firm is owned by the husband of presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, sparking a wave of accusations that the tender is mired in corruption. The group is said to have made inflated payments for PPE, and then pocketed the difference.
Ramaphosa's spokesperson 'told to resign'
The connection, as far as opposing politicians are concerned, is too close to home for the president. Ramaphosa has been encouraged to dismiss Diko, should she fail to walk away from her position.
"They are taking advantage of our people, and Diko is likely part of the company. She may have even filled out the paperwork. The president must do an honourable and ask her to step aside, to preserve the dignity of the office. Cyril, however, won't do this – he is the man in charge of releasing the reports."
"Ramaphosa must lead by example and show that these people can fall. There are names in sealed documents, held by the president, which reveal who exactly has been stealing from the R500 billion."Julius Malema on Khusela Diko