SIU probe prevents Mkhize from speaking on Digital Vibes scandal, Parliament told

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize
PHOTO: Darren Stewart, Gallo Images
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was absent from a parliamentary meeting on Friday that dealt with the controversial Digital Vibes scandal.
  • Mkhize has been accused of benefitting from an irregular tender awarded by his department to a company that contracted two of his associates.
  • The Department of Health paid more than R150 million to Digital Vibes.


Under-fire Health Minister Zweli Mkhize did not attend a parliamentary meeting on Friday and sent his director-general to the frontline to address the controversial Digital Vibes contract.

On Friday, Parliament's health committee chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo told his fellow MPs: 

I have been in touch with the minister. I last spoke to the minister last night and he indicated to me that he has been advised that because of the investigation in his department that also involves or touches his name, that legally it is not correct that he is the one leading the delegation to lead us.

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

Health department director-general Sandile Buthelezi gave a brief update on the matter. Buthelezi also said he could not divulge all the details of the matter as it was still under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Mkhize was accused of a conflict of interest and benefitting from an irregular tender awarded by his department to a company that contracted two of his associates.

In February, Daily Maverick broke the story that Digital Vibes, a then-obscure communications company whose consultants – Mkhize's former personal spokesperson and family friend Tahera Mather and his former private secretary Naadhira Mitha – secured an irregular communications contract from the Department of Health.

The contract was worth R82 million for work related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More recently, Daily Maverick revealed that the department paid more than R150 million to Digital Vibes, which also included payments for services not related to Covid-19, and that Mkhize, contrary to his public denial, had benefitted personally from the contract.

On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was dealing with the allegations against Mkhize.

Ramaphosa, though, indicated he was not going to act before the SIU concluded its investigation into the matter.

While ANC MPs reiterated their stance against corruption and asked for the investigation to be finalised, the DA and EFF criticised Mkhize, with the EFF calling on him to resign.


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