Controversial communications company Digital Vibes purchased a second-hand bakkie for Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s son around the same time the Department of Health transferred about R50 million to the company for its services.
This according to the latest report by the Daily Maverick‘s investigative unit, Scorpio, which revealed that around the same time Digital Vibes was paid by the department for services related to the National Health Insurance and Covid-19 communications efforts, a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser was bought by the company and registered in Dedani Mkhize’s name.
The car was valued at R160 000 and was purchased in May 2020. It is said to be in use at Dedani’s farm outside Pietermaritzburg.
According to the Daily Maverick, payment for the car and R300 000 was transferred to his company, All Out Trading, on the same day.
It is alleged Digital Vibes is controlled by Mkhize’s former aide, Tahera Mather, and his former personal assistant, Naadhira Mitha, though the two are not listed as directors.
The Daily Maverick said when it contacted Dedani, he said the car belonged to his farm manager and was a gift from Mather with whom he had a close relationship.
“My dealings with her are not business, they are just fun and leisure. I promised her I’ll keep this a secret coz [sic] she always says she’s scared of comrade Khabazela [Zweli Mkhize].
“Now this thing is messing up my life coz [sic], now T [Mather] does not respond to me coz [sic] you guys are chasing her,” he told the publication.
Mather and Mitha have not yet responded to a request for comment.
Digital Vibes is currently the subject of an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which it said was at an advanced stage.
Its head, advocate Andy Mothibi, told the South African National Editors’ Forum, at a briefing last week, the SIU would be making an announcement in the coming weeks.
He said the SIU did not want to “cut corners” but wanted to ensure the findings were backed by “solid evidence”.
On Wednesday, Mkhize said the department’s investigation found the tender bidding process followed was in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
He denied benefiting from the Digital Vibes contract and that Mather and Mitha were his friends.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was waiting on the SIU’s report before making any pronouncements, while ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe called for the SIU to finish its investigation before any action was taken against the health minister.