Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko takes leave of absence amid tender irregularities probe


Spokesperson to the President, 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 multimillion-rand 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," said The Presidency in a statement on Tuesday.

The ANC has allegedly summoned Diko, alongside Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife Loyiso Masuku, to explain themselves on the tender that was awarded to Royal Bhaca, a company owned by Diko's husband, Amabaca, King Madzikazi II Thandisizwe.

This comes after the ANC in Gauteng met earlier to discuss alleged irregularities in the awarding of a multimillion-rand tender to the company.

Although attempts to contact Diko were unsuccessful at the time of publishing, the EFF has come out calling for the Presidency to ask Diko to step aside as Ramphosa's spokesperson.

Malema said Diko could not speak on behalf of the President when her husband was being questioned.

He argues that if President Cyril Ramaphosa was to champion anti-corruption campaigns, how could Diko speak for the President when her husband was involved in alleged corrupt activities, according to a JacarandaFM report.

"To say she didn't know is to take advantage of our own people. She knew she is probably part of the business or she probably gave direction, she probably filled in the papers herself.

"The President has to do the honourable thing to ask her to step aside in defence of the integrity of the Presidency," Malema said.

Read more: ANC summons those implicated in Royal Bhaca 'PPE' tender entanglement

Additional reporting, Gopolang Moloko

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