Durban - Despite what could be interpreted as a setback for Dr Zweli Mkhize’s campaign to secure a place in the top six of the ANC when the SIU won an application to join more people in the Digital Vibes tender case, his lobbyists are undeterred.
Lobbyists in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, where Mkhize’s campaign is currently focused, said their focus is now on winning more support.
This is all while Mkhize’s focus will be on setting aside the adverse SIU findings against him.
On Tuesday, Mkhize’s campaign and dented image got a major boost when the parliament’s ethics and members’ interests committee cleared him of unduly benefiting from the Digital Vibes largesse through his son.
The committee said Mkhize cannot be held liable for his son’s (Dedani Mkhize) business dealing with Digital Vibes as alleged in the complaint which was laid by the DA’s Siviwe Gwarube.
“The Committee noted that you(r) son is an adult, married individual who is not financially dependent on you. In this regard, the provisions of the Code cannot be applied to hold you, as the Member of Parliament, liable for the alleged benefit received by your son. In this regard, the Committee found that you did not breach the Code,” the committee wrote to Mkhize.
However, that boost was overshadowed on Wednesday morning when the Special Tribunal allowed the SIU (Special Investigating Unit), which has been probing the R150 Digital Vibes tender which got Mkhize in hot water, ruled that Dedani, May Mashego-Mkhize (Mkhize’s wife) and Protus Sokhela should be joined in the case.
Mkhize’s ground forces however, are not deterred. A lobbyist in KwaZulu-Natal said they have already bagged the eThekwini region and four others, such as the Moses Mabhida region, which is Mkhize’s region in Pietermaritzburg.
Mkhize’s campaign is currently without a spokesperson after they decided that they would employ one when the ANC officially opens campaigning.
“Our target is increasing the number of regions who are supporting the campaign. Right now we are focused on getting the Musa Dladla region (Mpangeni-Richards Bay) and Inkosi Bhambatha (Mzinyathi) behind us. That is what matters,” the senior lobbyist said.
The two regions will likely be joined by the Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand).
Another lobbyist of Mkhize who is overseeing the campaign both in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape where they are banking on having the Lubabalo Madikizela faction for support, said the Special Tribunal ruling was no setback at all.
“This (Special Tribunal ruling) does not concern him at all. Mkhize is reviewing the SIU report in the Pretoria High Court and he is confident that it cannot stand. All the people that it is claimed he influenced have been cleared and are back at work. All he is focused on now is disproving the allegations by the SIU that he played some role or he interfered in the procurement,” said the lobbyist.
Mkhize whose court action to set aside the SIU report was initiated in February this year, did not respond when asked by the Daily News to comment on the latest developments.