Cabinet meeting: Ntshavheni provides update on Mabuza's health, unrest and Digital Vibes

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  • David Mabuza is well and back at work. 
  • Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was unable to say whether there would be a Cabinet reshuffle. 
  • Cabinet commended the work of law enforcement agencies following the violent unrest. 

Deputy President David Mabuza is not only back in the country, but he is in good health and back at work. 

This was according to Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who addressed the media on Thursday with regard to Wednesday's Cabinet meeting. 

While not wanting to commit to whether the deputy president attended the meeting, Ntshavheni said "the deputy president is back in the country and he is back at work, he is fit and healthy".

Ntshavheni refused to give details on whether the much-speculated Cabinet reshuffle was discussed during the meeting. 

PICS | Unrest: Looters arrested as police, soldiers raid Nguni Hostel in Vosloorus

"On the Cabinet reshuffle, that matter remains the prerogative of the president [Cyril Ramaphosa]… I cannot indicate when or if this will be happening as I am also an interested party, given that I am a minister," she said. 

Ntshavheni was, however, more forthcoming regarding the Digital Vibes report handed to Ramaphosa by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).  

Ntshavheni said:

The report on Digital Vibes is a report that was requested by the president from the SIU after he instructed the unit to investigate the matter. Whether he releases it to the public remains his sole prerogative and it is not up to Cabinet to discuss such reports. Also, Zweli Mkhize is a minister, his appointment, stay in Cabinet, and his discipline remain the decision of the president.

The SIU report on the health department's R150 million contract with Digital Vibes - a company with alleged links to Mkhize's associates - was handed to Ramaphosa early last month. The president has remained mum on its contents and what action will be taken against Mkhize for his alleged involvement.

READ | The cat is back: Deputy President DD Mabuza expected back from Russia on Wednesday

On the vaccination rollout, Ntshavheni said Cabinet praised the programme for gaining momentum. 

"SA's national vaccination programme has fully gathered pace and the health sector (both public and private) vaccinates a minimum of one million people in three days. To date, over eight million South Africans have been vaccinated and, at the current pace, the president should soon announce a revised target date for the country to reach population immunity." 

She added that Cabinet continues to call on South Africans to vaccinate, "as it remains our most effective weapon in the fight against Covid-19", and added:

People can now go to any vaccination site with their identity documents, even without an appointment, to be registered and vaccinated.

Another point of discussion at the meeting was the recent signing of the collective agreement on wage increases in the public sector. 

"Cabinet thanked public servants and those involved in the salary negotiations for putting our nation and her people first, following the recent signing of the collective agreement on wage increases in the public service.

"Cabinet is pleased that all parties showed collective leadership and a steely resolve to find a solution that benefits public servants and citizens, and calls on everyone to move forward in this same spirit of partnership and patriotism," said Ntshavheni. 

Unrest 

According to the minister, Cabinet members commended the "efforts of law enforcement who speedily restored stability to the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng" - and there was a collective call for those who incited the violence to be brought to book.

When asked whether former president Jacob Zuma's children would be investigated for allegedly inciting the violence, Ntshavheni said: "We have indicated that the investigation will affect anybody and everyone, irrespective whose child they are, which position they occupy, which organisation they belong to or which profession they belong to… if they are implicated, they will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted. We are all equal before the law. 

ALSO READ | Phoenix unrest claimed 36 lives - Police Minister Bheki Cele

"We would like to reassure South Africans that no stone will be left unturned to bring to justice to those responsible for the unrest that took place in the two provinces."

She added that six suspected instigators had already been arrested and appeared in various courts for incitement.

Unfortunately, the number of deaths during the unrest had been revised to 354 - in Gauteng, it was unchanged at 79, but KZN had risen to 275 as of Wednesday.

Ntshavheni said last month's violent unrest was regrettable, but Cabinet welcomed the R36 billion in economic relief by the government, saying this assistance will make a great difference in the lives of those severely affected by the unrest.

The bulk of this relief will go towards the R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant to alleviate poverty and hunger among the poorest in society, as well as support packages for employees and businesses.

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