DA: We can't wait for President Cyril Ramaphosa to act against Zweli Mkhize

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Minister of Health Zwelini Mkhize has denied any benefit from the Digital Vibes contract.
Minister of Health Zwelini Mkhize has denied any benefit from the Digital Vibes contract.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • The DA has laid corruption charges against Zweli Mkhize.
  • Spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the party couldn't wait for the SIU to finish its investigation. 
  • Cyril Ramaphosa previously said he was dealing with the matter, and Mkhize was cooperating. 

DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube has laid charges against Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the Cape Town police station over the Digital Vibes tender, despite an ongoing investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). 

Gwarube on Thursday said the allegations against Mkhize were serious and "it is unconscionable that the president does not take action against the minister, pending the outcome of the SIU [investigation]".

ALSO READ | Public Protector to open contempt case against Zweli Mkhize for failure to honour subpoena

She said the party decided to lay charges because it believes "both arms of the criminal justice system have to collaborate and cross-check with each other".

She said SIU head Andy Mothibi on Wednesday told Parliament his unit was looking into over R14 billion worth of Covid-19-related corruption. 

She said:

It is, therefore, not possible and it should not be allowed that the person leading the task of responding to Covid-19 has allegations of this nature hanging over him.

The DA also brought charges against the health department's director-general, Sandile Buthelezi.

In her affidavit submitted to the police, Gwarube said the R150 million contract awarded to Digital Vibes for communications work on behalf of the health department was "irregular".

She said reports revealed the owners of Digital Vibes and its paid consultants "have close connections to Minister Mkhize". 

The charges she brought were under Sections 3, 12 and 13 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Gwarube said the revelations in the Daily Maverick that Mkhize and his son, Dedani, benefitted from the company by means of a R300 000 payment, repairs to a house owned by Mkhize's trust, and a bakkie as a gift to Dedani, as well as the irregular tender appointment of the company, "may potentially constitute corrupt activity". 

She said:

I believe that the close relationships two consultants within Digital Vibes, as well as the payments made to benefit Minister Mkhize, may have induced him to irregularly appoint Digital Vibes for the Covid 19 communications contract, thereby constituting potentially corrupt activity.

Gwarube said Buthelezi, in turn, possibly contravened the Public Finance Management Act's Section 38, which states that "the signing off of any contracts is the function of the accounting officer and not the executive authority – as was allegedly the case with Minister Mkhize".

She said, for this reason, Buthelezi should be investigated "for his involvement and possible contravention of the PFMA, with gross negligence". 

Ramaphosa told the National Assembly on Wednesday that he was "dealing with the matter" of the allegations against Mkhize, and that the health minister was cooperating.

READ | Ramaphosa on 'disturbing' allegations against Mkhize: 'I am dealing with the matter'

He was, however, waiting for the SIU to conclude its investigation, which is expected to be by the end of this month. 

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