Khusela Diko reinstated in public service – but not as Ramaphosa’s spokesperson

Khusela Diko and President Cyril Ramaphosa. Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

The Presidency has confirmed that Khusela Diko has been reinstated in the public service after a disciplinary process that ended in her receiving a written warning.

In a statement on Tuesday (31 August), Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele however said Diko will not return to her previous post as spokesperson to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Khusela Diko reinstated

“The Presidency has completed a disciplinary process against Presidency Spokesperson Ms Khusela Diko for her failure to disclose her interests in certain companies as required by public service regulations on the disclosure of financial interests,” Gungubele said.

“Following the disciplinary process, Ms Diko has been served with a written warning for this offence. The action taken by the Presidency management was in compliance with a recommendation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) that Ms Diko be disciplined for her failure to disclose certain interests.

“This recommendation arose from an SIU investigation into government’s procurement of COVID-19 personal protective equipment [PPE]. Ms Diko, currently on maternity leave, will not return to the position of Spokesperson to the President but to a different position in the public service.”

The Minister added that Tyrone Seale will continue serving as Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson.

PPE controversy

Diko was cleared by the SIU of involvement in a PPE corruption scandal that rocked the Gauteng provincial government last year. She took leave of absence in the wake of the controversy.

The scandal involved a company called Royal Bhaca Projects, which was owned by Diko’s late husband Thandisizwe Diko. Royal Bhaca Projects was part of a contract which the SIU argued was “unlawfully, irregularly and corruptly awarded, and at prices which were grossly inflated way in excess of market-related prices.”

Diko was also cleared by the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) in May and resumed her role as a provincial executive committee member of the party in Gauteng.

“The NDC recommends that all PEC members, including [Bongani] Masuku and Diko, be schooled about ethics and moral conduct and ANC Constitution,” the NDC however stated.

It is unclear at this stage what role she will assume in the public service given the seniority of her previous position.

Concerns have also been raised about Seale acting as Ramaphosa’s spokesperson for more than a year.

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