Zweli Mkhize on special leave over corruption allegations

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will serve as acting Minister of Health until further notice.
Image: Bloomberg

President Cyril Ramaphosa put his health minister, Zweli Mkhize, on special leave on Tuesday, after allegations that his department irregularly awarded Covid-19-related contracts to a communications company controlled by his former associates.

Before Ramaphosa’s statement, the minister apologised for the public rage over the allegations, the latest in a series linked to coronavirus-related tenders that have angered a public suffering pandemic-induced economic hardship. Mkhize has denied any personal wrongdoing. Ramaphosa, who has promised that graft during the Covid-19 pandemic will be dealt with harshly, said the special leave would enable Mkhize to answer an investigation into contracts between his department and service provider Digital Vibes.

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Mkhize said: “I fully acknowledge and take personal responsibility for the public outrage that has been caused by this Digital Vibes contract.”

“The negative discourse has … tainted the team work of our government that is led by the president in our continued efforts to fight Covid-19. … For all of this I want to unreservedly apologise,” he added.

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will serve as acting minister of health until further notice, Ramaphosa’s office said.

The Special Investigating Unit has said a probe it is conducting is nearing completion. The report will be given to Ramaphosa to decide on further action.

In May, Mkhize said a forensic investigation had found that the process of appointing Digital Vibes, headed by his former personal assistant and secretary, was irregular, as was more than 150 million rand ($11 million) paid to the firm.

Daily Maverick, which first broke news of the contract in February, said the firm was appointed in late 2019 to provide communications services for the government’s National Health Insurance roll-out.

The scope of work was extended in March 2020 to include Covid-19-related communication.

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All men are innocent until proven guilty….such a pity our Minister of Health is under suspicion, he was doing a sterling job until the ANC virus got to him!

Guess he will have time now to go and do some shopping.

What are the chances that a Minister of Tourism will operate efficiently and competently as a Minister of health. From thinking about South Africa and how to make it more appealing as a tourist destination to thinking about nervous system, circular flow of blood, Covid-19 and how to best protect people from it, etc. Is this person expected to execute duties of Minister of Health well? Or she will rely on advisory committee/team. Being a Minister of health seems complex and even if it is temporarary, it is during a critical moment of Covid-19.

Hope its not paid leave????

Maybe he should “attend” to the allegations against him in in his own free time??

I thought the purpose of special leave was to prevent interference in investigations, so in what way will he be ‘attending to them’ while on leave ?

NHI – new Escom, Transnet etc. A given

Fully paid and pensionable emoluments honored. What a better way do do nothing in SA ne.

bit off the article, just a quick question: When referred to “ditigtal vibes” in this article, is it a company with its head office somewhere in India or is it a total different entity – probably a south african company???

“Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will serve as acting Minister of Health until further notice.”

I suppose qualification for the vaccine will now depend on one’s BEE status.

The champion of the NHI – goodbye

Soon all the “honourables” will be on paid leave…..

Please give us a competent replacement. We keep getting the Z team from the ANC.

End of comments.

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