Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has denied media reports claiming that the investigation into the R150 million Digital Vibes contract has anything to do him being a potential candidate in the African National Congress (ANC) leadership battle in 2022.
Sunday Times has cited an “insider” who claimed Mkhize told ANC leaders that he was being targeted because he could possibly contest in the party’s elective congress.
“The minister has noted with concern the Sunday Times report which refers to a ‘source’ who attended a meeting with Dr Mkhize over the weekend. He specifically mentions 2022. The minister wishes to clarify that he does not believe that this investigation has anything to do with ANC politics or as referred to in the article, ‘2022”
The Department of Health
Health Department: Mkhize cooperating with probe
The Department of Health further said in its statement that it was Zweli Mkhize himself who advised his director-general to conduct an independent probe, after he had received a report by the auditor-general, recommending that the Digital Vibes contract be further looked into.
“It was also the minister who briefed the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] about this investigation, thereafter the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] publicly announced that it would use an already existing proclamation looking into matters of Covid-19 contracts malfeasance,” the department said.
The department has also said the minister will continue cooperating with the investigation.
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.