While calls for Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize’s resignation continue to mount, the latest reports indicate that he may already be on his way out. It has been a tough couple of weeks for the minister, particularly with the controversial R150 million contract to communications company Digital Vibes hanging over his head.
Zweli Mkhize could be out very soon
According to various media outlets, President Cyril Ramaphosa has given Mkhize a number of options, namely:
- The minister steps aside, pending the conclusion of a probe by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)
- Ramaphosa removes him as part of a cabinet reshuffle, which would mean potential changes to other portfolios too
- Or Mkhize simply resigns from his post
For now, everything points to the health minister possibly quitting, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s to always expect the unexpected, especially in the South African political landscape.
The South African has reached out to The Presidency and Mkhize’s spokesperson Lwazi Manzi for comment, but efforts have been fruitless so far.
It was learnt via Daily Maverick that two women linked to Mkhize – Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha beneﬁted from Digital Vibes’ lucrative contract with the Department of Health by working for the company as paid consultants.
It is alleged that Digital Vibes wildly inflated the costs of setting up Mkhize’s briefings during the COVID-19 pandemic, with funds from the DoH funneled into a host of obscure third-party bank accounts. The minister has vehemently denied having any knowledge of these irregular processes, however, and maintains his innocence.
However the latest revelations are rather damning against Mkhize and Digital Vibes, which will soon have to cough up the money unduly earned from the health department, as the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has already announced steps to recover some of the funds.
What is known so far: Digital Vibes paid R300 000 to a company belonging to Mkhize’s son, Dedani and also bought him a R160 000 Toyota Land Cruiser for his farm in Pietermaritzburg. As if that wasn’t enough, the company also paid R7 000 for maintenance work done on the Mkhize family’s plush Bryanston townhouse.
These revelations completely contradict the minister’s assertion that there was no wrongdoing on his part and that he didn’t benefit from the lucrative contract.