Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

ANC veteran George Mashamba set to meet with Mkhize over R150m Digital Vibes saga

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jun 7, 2021

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The ANC Integrity Committee (IC), under veteran George Mashamba, is set to meet embattled Health Minister Zweli Mkhize – but Mkhize has to declare his availability.

Mashamba said the IC had received correspondence from Mkhize, indicating his intention to meet the committee.

The IC was made aware of the letter by its secretariat but he did not disclose details of the letter.

“We did not have the letter yet. He will have to come and explain himself, in a similar fashion like others did. This is a high-profile matter. We do not want to second guess him. He must come and give his side of the story,” Mashamba said.

He said the IC would write to Mkhize to find out about his availability to appear before the committee. It planned to hold a meeting on Saturday.

While Mkhize is due to declare his availability to the IC, the Health Department has slammed rumours the axe had fallen on some senior officials allegedly linked to the R150 million Digital Vibes contract.

The department had awarded the contract for communications work that had initially focused on the National Health Insurance scheme but was later expanded to include Covid-19 communications.

The company is owned by Mkhize’s former private assistant Tahera Mathera and his former spokesperson Naardhira Mitha.

The awarding of the contract was flagged as irregular expenditure. But Mkhize said everything was above board and the award had the full backing of the National Treasury.

But opposition parties continued to put pressure on him. A media exposure forced him to appoint a legal firm in January this year to conduct an investigation into the awarding of the contract.

The report, released on May 26, confirmed the awarding of the tender was irregular. The report was handed over to the Special Investigative Unit for further investigation.

The SIU is due to report its findings to President Cyril Ramaphosa by the end of June.

POLITICAL BUREAU

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