While the Health Ministry asks for more time to allow the continuation of an investigation into Dr Zweli Mkhize’s alleged role in the Digital Vibes scandal, Afriforum wants the minister to step down from his cabinet post.
The lobby group’s head of community development Johan Kruger said they submitted a complaint to Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s office on Tuesday.
“The ANC should have Dr Zweli Mkhize step aside pending the outcome of the investigation against him. Anything less would be tantamount to a betrayal of the communities who suffer under the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kruger.
Zweli Mkhize and Digital Vibes saga explained
According to Daily Maverick, two associates of Mkhize had been appointed as consultants by Digital Vibes, a KwaZulu-Natal-based company, which irregularly received contracts from the Department of Health for COVID-19-related projects, to the tune of R150 million. It was further learnt that the same company had also received tenders from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in 2018, during which Mkhize was minister.
The two so-called family friends are Tahera Mather, Mkhize’s long-serving personal spokesperson and Naadhira Mitha, a former assistant private secretary in Mkhize’s office at Cogta.
Afriforum added that the allegations currently emerging paints a worrying picture – particularly where the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) is concerned.
“The looting of resources at the first opportunity during a pandemic does indeed predict what can be expected when resources are managed centrally if and when NHI becomes a reality”
Afriforum’s Johan Kruger
“Taxpayers are at breaking point, yet are confronted daily with reports of new looting sprees by ANC officials. The ANC government clearly does not realise what levels of frustration exist among taxpayers. AfriForum is inundated by perplexed communities who are actively investigating tax revolts,” Kruger said.
When Mkhize broke his silence on the Digital Vibes saga, the minister said he had instructed his director-general to hire an external independent service provider to investigate the matter. The ministry has since moved to assure South Africans that it continues looking into the matter.
“The non-response to various media queries by the department and the Minister is out of ensuring that there is no interference with the ongoing investigations and all the necessary information and documents is shared with the investigators,” he said.