The ANC has welcomed Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize’s decision to present himself before the party’s Integrity Committee following allegations of corruption against him related to the awarding of a R150 million tender to Digital Vibes.
The allegations against Mkhize includes that Digital Vibes was awarded the contract by the Health Department for communication work that had initially focused on the National Health Insurance scheme but was later expanded to include Covid-19 communications.
The controversy, however, emerged when the media exposed that the company was owned by Mkhize’s former private assistant, Tahera Mathera, and his former spokesperson, Naardhira Mitha.
Adding to the saga, the media later exposed that Digital Vibes had allegedly made payments for maintenance work at the family home of Mkhize including transferring cash to a personal account of his son Dedani Mkhize.
The police have yet to make a decision to criminally charge him or allow the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which is probing the awarding of the tender to complete their investigation.
Announcing the outcome of the ANC National Working Committee, the party’s acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte said her party welcomed the minister’s decision to present himself to the Integrity Commission, saying it was in line with the resolution of the 54th National Conference, Fighting Crime and Corruption.
While Duarte welcomed Mkhize’s decision, President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced his decision to place him on special leave pending the outcome of the SIU investigation.
Duarte also used the opportunity to lodge a veiled attack against some of their party leaders such as Tony Yengeni and suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule, who accused senior ANC leaders of allegedly using state resources to deal with their opponents in the party.
Duarte was adamant that the claims made by some of their leaders were unfounded.
“The NWC rejected any insinuation that investigations by law enforcement agencies, in general, and the SIU, in particular, have been influenced by factors other than those provided for in the law.
“Investigations by the SIU are initiated at the request of government departments, or other state institutions. They are formally proclaimed by the president once due legal processes have been followed,” she said.
Duarte said she the welcomed the efforts by the ANC-led government to strengthen law enforcement agencies to allow for swifter identification and prosecution of corruption and fraud and the assurance that there would be no political interference whatsoever in the work of these agencies.