Reports coming from a Daily Maverick investigation have revealed shocking findings that South Africa’s Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, is implicated in an improperly awarded contract by the Department of Health.
The investigation has found that long-time personal associates of the Minister allegedly pocketed Covid-19 funds after being appointed as consultants of a KwaZulu-Natal company. The company, Digital Vibes, was allegedly paid R82 million to provide Covid-related services to the Department.
According to the Daily Maverick: “The DoH appointed Digital Vibes in late 2019 through a contentious closed tender to provide communications services for the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) roll-out. The scope of work was extended in March 2020 to include communications services for Covid-19.”
The company was also given a contract in 2018 by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs when Dr Mkhize headed that department.
“In both instances, Tahera Mather, Mkhize’s long-serving personal spokesperson and alleged family friend, scored consultancy jobs from Digital Vibes after it had secured the government contracts,” says the DM, adding that Digital Vibes has no website and its business address is a residential property in KwaDukuza (previously Stanger).
Siviwe Gwarube – DA Shadow Minister of Health – says the DA will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute a SIU investigation into these very serious allegations.
“Corruption during this Covid-19 pandemic has reached crisis levels. We have seen politicians use their influence and proximity to certain individuals to improperly award contracts; siphon public money and not be held accountable for their crimes,” said Gwarube in a statement on Wednesday.
“That is why it is important for the President to act swiftly and ensure that the facts around this alleged improper contract are exposed and those guilty of this egregious crime are held accountable.”
The Department of Health has launched its own investigation into these allegations, however, the DA asserts that any investigation should be independent and free from possible internal influence.
“Minister Mkhize is leading the country’s response to the Covid pandemic. There cannot be a cloud of doubt hanging over his head about possible abuse of state resources,” says the statement.