Mkhize backs SIU probe into R82m health tender allegedly given to his 'associates'

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says he supports an investigation into the Department of Health's contract with Digital Vibes.
  • It is alleged that two paid consultants at the company have personal ties to him.
  • The Auditor-General flagged the R82 million contract as irregular.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the Department of Health's director-general Sandile Buthelezi flagged the department's contract with Digital Vibes - whose paid consultants have ties with Mkhize - for further investigation earlier this year and he advised that an external investigator be appointed.

On Wednesday, the Daily Maverick reported that an obscure communications company, Digital Vibes, with his former personal spokesperson and family friend Tahera Mather and his former private secretary Naadhira Mitha as paid consultants, secured an irregular communications contract from the Department of Health worth R82 million for work related to the pandemic.

On Thursday, Mkhize addressed the National Council of Provinces on government's vaccine rollout plan.

DA MP from Gauteng Mbulelo Bara asked Mkhize to provide clarity on the matter.

READ | WHO will pay out a lump sum for vaccine side effects from Covid-19 Covax programme

Mkhize said around January, his DG met with him to provide an update on ongoing investigations at the department.

Buthelezi informed Mkhize that the auditor-general made findings against the Digital Vibes contract and found it irregular, and Buthelezi recommended that it be investigated further.

"I fully supported this view, and asked him to go ahead," Mkhize said.

Buthelezi sought his advice on whether it should be investigated by the department's internal audit unit or an external investigator, and Mkhize advised him to appoint an external investigator because other investigations had been done externally because of a lack of internal capacity.

"Where there are allegations of irregularities brought to our attention, we must investigate this," he said.

Investigation

He also promised that the results of the investigation would be publicised.

On Wednesday, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), said it was already investigating the matter.

Mkhize said he welcomed the SIU's investigation.

READ | Next batch of J&J vaccines to arrive on 27 February

Mkhize didn't say a word about his alleged personal ties with Mather and Mitha.

Earlier in the briefing, he said the department had learnt lessons from PPE corruption.

"We must deal with corruption," he said.

He also called on civil society and political parties not to politicise matters related to the pandemic.

"I would like to appeal to our leadership in society and in the political parties that we need to keep the fight against Covid-19 non-partisan and we need to work together to demystify the vaccinations and deal with the myths and misinformation."

He said it was clear that the country was now in a situation "where we believe the opportunity exists for our people to overcome the virus".

He said vaccinating 40 million people, possibly more, was the only way to beat the pandemic.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 3086 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 2886 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 318 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.36
(-0.7)
GBP/ZAR
19.97
(-0.6)
EUR/ZAR
17.24
(-0.8)
AUD/ZAR
11.12
(-0.2)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(-0.6)
Gold
1,787.52
(+0.5)
Silver
26.52
(+0.1)
Platinum
1,230.25
(-0.7)
Brent Crude
68.88
(+2.0)
Palladium
2,975.40
(-0.4)
All Share
67,346
(+1.8)
Top 40
61,537
(+1.9)
Financial 15
12,357
(+2.2)
Industrial 25
85,649
(+1.3)
Resource 10
70,351
(+2.6)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo