Zweli Mkhize held an early morning press briefing on Wednesday, to discuss the Digital Vibes contract that has thrown the Health Department into disarray. The R150 million deal is mired in corrupt activity, and the links to the minister himself are a little too close for comfort. However, Mr. Mkhize believes he is in the clear.
What is the Digital Vibes contract?
Tahera Mather – Mkhize’s personal spokesperson – and his former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha, are accused of beneﬁtting from Digital Vibes’ DoH contract… by working for the company as paid consultants.
They allege that the company wildly inflated the costs of setting up Zweli 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 denied having any knowledge of these irregular processes, however, and declared his innocence during the media address.
“As minister, I must declare conflicts of interest – but in this instance, there are none. I didn’t participate in the company’s appointment process, I did not influence the selection of employees or consultants of the company” | Zweli Mkhize
Zweli Mkhize looks at self, declares innocence
According to Mkhize, there is no need for Mkhize to step aside – because Mkhize believes that Mkhize ‘has done enough’ to make investigators aware of the issue. When you put it that way, his declaration of innocence – after a brief period of self-investigation – perhaps needs more veracity behind it.
The SIU and internal investigators are carrying out their own independent probe into the matter. Ultimately, THEY will decide just how responsible Zweli Mkhize is for these tainted contracts. But the minister is sticking to his guns.
“The outrage and anger towards the contract of Digital Vibes is justified… the SIU report into the matter is near finalization, and the internal forensic report has been completed and handed to the president. Investigators have uncovered that the contract awarded to Digital Vibes WAS in contravention of the finance management act.”
“Action is underway to retrieve the money awarded to the communication company between 2020 – 2021. Disciplinary processes are also ongoing for department officials implicated in the matter. I did not benefit from the contract, and there is no need for me to step aside… because I have been forthcoming with the investigations.”
[WATCH] "I did not participate in the company's appointment process, I did not in any way influence the selection of employees or consultants of the company" – Minister Zweli Mkhize
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) May 26, 2021