Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured the country that he was handling the issue of Health Minister Zweli Mkhize as the latter faces mounting pressure to go.
Opposition parties on Wednesday called on Ramaphosa to leave no stone unturned in the Mkhize affair and demanded action against the minister.
But acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said they were acting against corruption and Ramaphosa should not lose heart.
“The fact that the SIU (Special Investigating Unit) is investigating the allegations of corruption related to PPE procurement and Digital Vibes contract point to our commitment to fight against corruption. We recognise that the prevention, detection and prosecution of corruption goes beyond law enforcement requiring the activation of capacities and systems across government and broader society. To you Mr President, do not lose your heart because of the unfair criticism in your work,” said Ntshavheni.
But EFF leader Julius Malema and DA MP Dean Macpherson said Ramaphosa should act against Mkhize.
They said he cannot keep a minister who is implicated in corruption allegations.
Mkhize has been mired in controversy over the last few weeks after allegations of corruption involving communications company Digital Vibes emerged.
It has been reported that Digital Vibes, which is allegedly run by former Mkhize’s aides, had benefited to the tune of R150 million from the contracts in the department of health.
But Mkhize said the matter was receiving attention from his office.
He said he would act once all processes have been followed.
“I had a discussion with the minister and he is cooperating fully and completely on this matter. What I can say to South Africans is that I am dealing with this matter and there is full cooperation from the minister. Let us allow this process to unfold and thereafter we will know what needs to be done,” said Ramaphosa.
Malema said it was not correct for Ramaphosa to sit with a minister in Cabinet who is implicated in a multi-million rand tender scandal involving a communications company.
He said the president had to act and do so quickly. This was sending a wrong message to keep a minister facing serious allegations of corruption.
Macpherson said Ramaphosa must stick to his promise of fighting corruption.
In another matter, Ramaphosa said he welcomed the work done by Parliament in processing three Bills to fight gender-based violence.
He said Parliament was on Thursday expected to pass the three Bills.
He said since he called the joint sitting of Parliament on GBV two years ago it was disappointing that the number of cases on the violence against women and children had continued.
Ramaphosa also said the work of the ad hoc committee on Section 25 to amend the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation was going well.
But Malema said the ANC and EFF had not seen eye to eye on the matter on this section as they wanted the state to be the custodian of land.
The ad hoc committee, which was supposed to finalise the Bill on Section 25 at the end of May, has asked for an extension of the deadline until the end of August.