The portfolio committee on health met to discuss the R150 million contract which has placed Mkhize under a dark cloud.
Mkhize was accused of a conflict of interest and benefiting from an irregular tender awarded by his department to a company that contracted two of his associates.
Committee chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo informed MPs that Mkhize would not be present as he was advised not to deal with the matter for now.
Health department director-general (DG) Sandile Buthelezi gave a brief update on the matter.
ANC MP Tshilidzi Bethuel Munyai said at the start of the meeting the matter could not be discussed while it was still under investigation.
“From the ANC, we are of the view that this matter is reported to the court of law by the DA, therefore, it is sub judice. Also, the DG is a factor in the case being reported with the case opened with the police. The other factor that was key is that report so far, as the SIU, is still inconclusive. The minister or the ministry cannot talk on the matter as it is still inconclusive with the SIU,” he said.
On Thursday, DA MP Siviwe Gwarube laid charges against Mkhize at the Cape Town police station over the Digital Vibes tender, despite an ongoing investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
Munyai said whatever Buthelezi may relay to the committee could be used in a court of law.
In response, Gwarube said: “Matters are sub judice when they are before a court of law. This matter is not before a court; it’s being investigated by the police and the SIU. Those two [agencies] are not a court of law. Therefore, the sub judice rule only relates to a matter being before a court.”
EFF MP Naledi Chirwa said it appeared there was certain dishonesty in the meeting. She said: “Last year already, we called for the minister to resign. Part of the reasons he did not want to resign was because there were no links between him and the corruption regarding Digital Vibes. We cannot now be held at ransom and not be able to do our job just because of one minister. Minister Mkize is in a whole dungeon of corruption.”
Towards the end of the meeting, Chirwa again raised a point of order when ANC MP Annah Gela thanked Buthelezi for availing himself.
“It’s very clear that you (Buthelezi) are not hiding anything. So, EFF must fall,” she said.
Immediately, Chirwa shouted: “We are dealing with corruption here.”
Chirwa’s fellow EFF MP, Susan Thembekwayo, replied: “The ANC must fall.”
Even as the meeting ended, Chirwa shouted: “Zweli Mkhize will fall, all these corrupt gogos.”
Thembekwayo loudly said Gela and the ANC “must fall”.
In response, ANC MP Kenneth Leonard Jacobs said: “The EFF has fallen already.”