Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who was placed on special leave. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who was placed on special leave. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

’Ramaphosa must fire Mkhize following SIU evidence’

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jul 30, 2021

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Cape Town – There is enough evidence in the founding affidavit by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to the Special Tribunal on the irregular R150 million Digital Vibes contract for Zweli Mkhize to be fired as minister of Health.

This was stated on Friday by the DA after the SIU’s claims that “at best, this conduct on the part of the minister was improper and, at worst, the conduct of the minister was unlawful”.

Ramaphosa placed Mkhize on special leave over the Digital Vibes tender scandal. Digital Vibes is accused of inflating prices and doing work that the department could have done internally.

In court papers filed in the Special Tribunal on Thursday, the SIU wants the R150m contract reviewed and set aside and for those implicated to be ordered to pay the SIU or the Department of Health the money they received with interest.

Mkhize and his son Dedani have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority to consider charging them for corruption over “suspicious” payments they received from Digital Vibes.

In the affidavit, the SIU says Mkhize repeatedly pressurised the Health director​-general, Malebona Matsoso, to approve the irregular Digital Vibes contract. Mkhize also allegedly “directly and indirectly” benefited from the irregular contract, which bypassed proper procurement processes.

’’President Cyril Ramaphosa can no longer dither on the future of Dr Zweli Mkhize as Health minister… The president no longer has an excuse to table the SIU report handed over to him three weeks ago. Clearly, the SIU has revealed wrongdoing on the part of Minister Mkhize,’’ DA health spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said.

’’This is the final nail in the coffin for Mkhize. Now that the public knows what’s in the report the president must fire him.

’’The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to show his mettle by cleaning up his cabinet and appointing a permanent minister of Health who is capable and beyond reproach (acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane does not have medical qualifications).

’’We also welcome the move by the SIU to recoup the millions in public funds wasted on the Digital Vibes contract. This is another step closer to accountability for those involved in this scandal.

’’The DA on 3 June also took the necessary steps to lay a criminal charge against both Minister Mkhize and the Director General of the Health Department.

’’Not only should Mkhize be fired, he must also be criminally investigated and face the full might of the law should he be found guilty.’’

Yesterday, Ramaphosa told journalists while touring a vaccination site in Tembisa, Gauteng: “I’ve received the SIU report but there is still some finalisation of certain aspects which we are going to get.

’’So I am looking at it, and I’m studying it (the SIU report). So allow me the time and the space to look at that.”

The SIU stated that Mkhize had received R6 720 from Digital Vibes, allegedly for maintenance at a Bryanston property, while his son received R3.8 million.

Mkhize and his son are listed among 20 people to whom Digital Vibes paid R90m of the R150m the company received from their contract with the Department of Health.

IOL

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