Zweli Mkhize resigns over Digital Vibes scandal
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Johannesburg - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize resigned from his position on Thursday “in order to bring certainty and stability” to the portfolio but, he committed to instituting a High Court application for the judicial review of the report that implicated him in corruption.
In a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, dated August 5 and seen by IOL, Mkhize said he “thought it best” that he is allowed to step down.
In the letter, Mkhize claimed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) worked with a “predetermined outcome and a closed mind in the investigation”.
Mkhize was placed on special leave following the Digital Vibes contract where he was embroiled in a graft scandal linked to his department’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Implicated in the scandal was Mkhize’s long-time spokesperson Tahera Mather and his former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha who were enlisted as directors of Digital Vibes.
Mather and Mitha have subsequently been accused by the company’s owner and director Radha Hariram of then embezzling about R80m from the company, while Mhize’s son Dedani and daughter-in-law Sthoko Mkhize have also been accused of benefitting extensively. The SIU report found that Mkhize and his family benefitted to the tune of R4 million from the tainted R150 million Digital Vibes contract.
Mkhize told Ramaphosa that he believed the SIU investigation proceeding unfairly and reached a flawed and unfounded report.
"The SIU had started by drawing adverse inferences and conclusions even before I was heard. It held back disclosing to me, prior to my examination material it intended relying on just minutes later, in the course of what was examination by ambush.
"It disregarded known evidence, which contradicted those inferences and ignored legal submissions without justification in its dogged pursuit of its predetermined conclusions,” Mkhize listed.
He said the SIU’s conduct and conclusions could not be left unchallenged, but vowed to remain a committed worker under Ramaphosa’s leadership.
“Mr President, I remain committed to working under your leadership and it is an honour for me to serve the people of South Africa in our government's quest to deliver a better life for all. I am, however, mindful that it is imperative for you, Mr President, to have a fully functional executive. I have not been able to fulfil my duties as minister of health for the past two months, having been placed on special leave,” Mkhize wrote to Ramaphosa.