DURBAN - Former national Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize was shocked and saddened that his name had been dragged into the assassination of whistle-blower Babita Deokaran by one of the accused in her murder.
Deokaran was one of the witnesses in the Special Investigating Unit’s investigation into personal protective equipment tender fraud, which amounted to more than R300 million within the Gauteng Health Department.
Mkhize was responding to an article published by News24 on Tuesday which referred to one of the men who had been arrested for Deokaran’s murder.
The article said the man, Phakamani Hadebe, 29, had distanced himself from a “false confession” in which he implicated Mkhize, saying it was made under duress.
In his bail affidavit on Tuesday, Hadebe described his confession as a “figment of his imagination”, which had come after hours of alleged torture following his arrest.
According to the News24 article, Hadebe said: “I challenge the State to produce CCTV footage of me visiting the mall and meeting Mr Mkhize.”
In a response to questions, Mkhize said he had learned with shock and sadness that his name had been dragged into the case.
Speaking to the Daily News, Mkhize assured Ms Deokaran’s family and all South Africans who are still reeling from the trauma of this callous crime that he has absolutely nothing to do with it, nor the alleged procurement irregularities, which are believed to have driven the murder.
"It should be remembered that these alleged procurement irregularities took place at a provincial level, far away from the national sphere of government where I was deployed as a national Minister of Health," Mkhize said.
He added that he has since instructed his lawyers to write to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to investigate the circumstances surrounding the extraction and acceptance into evidence of the so-called reported ‘confession’ whose value could only have been to cause him political embarrassment.
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