South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, just days after telling his nation he had ordered a crackdown on corrupt people abusing Covid-19 contracts, is facing pressure to dismiss one of his close aides over the very issue, APA has learnt.The aide in question is his presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko whose husband won a US$7.4-million contract with the Gauteng provincial government’s health department to supply it with personal protection equipment (PPE).
While Diko and her husband have denied any wrongdoing, opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF) President Julius Malema on Tuesday said that Diko’s husband could not have won the PPE supplies contract to the Gauteng Provincial government without the wife’s influence.
Malema said: “The president must do the honourable thing and ask her to step aside in defence of the integrity and the image of that office (Presidency).”
As a leader who campaigned for the presidency to end corruption in the country, Ramaphosa “must lead by example,” Malema said.
On its part, the presidency said the office was waiting for more information surrounding the events in the awarding of the contract to Diko’s husband and his company.
“This (probe) is pending the outcome of investigations into the awarding of two subsequently cancelled contracts for the supply of personal protective equipment to Royal Bacha Projects, a company in which her husband is a director,” the presidency said.
In addition, the high office said that Diko had taken leave of absence and would temporarily relinquish her role in government, thanking the presidency for accepting her request.