Tahera Mather, one of the beneficial owners of Digital Vibes and a close associate of former health minister Zweli Mkhize, reportedly splurged R90,000 at a Gucci store in Sandton, using money that was paid to the company by the Department of Health.
Her spending spree, however, didn’t end there.
According to a report in Daily Maverick, Mather also used the Digital Vibes bank account to:
- Pay nearly R200,000 for a two-month holiday in Turkey
- Pay R530,000 towards renovations at her house
- Buy groceries worth R28,000
- Pay R42,000 towards her personal municipal account
- Settle a R6,800 private security account
- Send almost R30 million to companies and accounts controlled by Mather and her family members.
Of the R530,000 used for home renovations, R193,000 went towards buying expensive Smeg kitchen appliances.
The total expense for all of the transactions, which was paid for using taxpayers’ money, comes to about R100 million.
Digital Vibes was paid R150 million by the department to run communications campaigns for the National Health Insurance (NHI), with the contract later amended to include Covid-19 messaging.
Zweli Mkhize’s son
These latest allegations come after a report in August detailed how Mkhize’s son benefited from the Digital Vibes contract.
Dedani Mkhize and his wife, Sthoko, allegedly used more than R1 million to buy a nail-care franchise and hair salon.
The Sunday Times also reported on money-laundering allegations involving Dedani, which were included in the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) affidavit. He allegedly received more than R4.2 million in EFTs, including money for a car instalment.
This also allegedly included cash in plastic bags and cardboard boxes, which was given to Dedani by a petrol station manager who is registered as the owner of Digital Vibes.
SIU hopes NPA will charge Mkhize
The SIU earlier in September told Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) that it had evidence against the former health minister that points to criminal action regarding the Digital Vibes contract.
SIU head Andy Mothibi said its investigators had found that Mkhize “may have committed actions of criminality”, as well as failing to comply with the Constitution.
“We say that [Mkhize] may have committed a criminal act because we have found evidence pointing to criminal action and that evidence was then referred by law to the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority].”