News / South Africa

Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
20 Oct 2021
9:56 pm

SIU won’t budge over Mkhize

Bernadette Wicks

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said on Wednesday, there was “no way” Mkhize did not know what was going on.

Former minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize inside Tshwane District Hospital. Picture: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) isn’t backing down in the Digital Vibes saga and says it will be opposing former health minister Zweli Mkhize’s looming high court bid to overturn the findings against him.

Earlier this year, Daily Maverick published an exposé on how Digital Vibes had scored millions from government contracts tied to the National Health Insurance and the Covid pandemic.

The obscure Stanger-based Digital Vibes is believed to be controlled by Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha, both one-time aides to Mkhize.

The SIU in June submitted a report on the matter, together with a referral letter, to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

It found Mkhize and his family had directly benefitted from the contracts, that he had lied about it and had failed in his oversight duties.

It recommended executive action be taken against him. Mkhize, who has since resigned, this month approached
the High Court in Johannesburg with an application to have these findings and recommendations reviewed and set aside.

In response, the SIU on Wednesday said it would be opposing the case. Further, it would be forging ahead with civil proceedings against Mkhize and other parties to review and set aside the Digital Vibes contracts.

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If Mkhize wanted a stay, he would have to apply for one, which the SIU also indicated it would oppose.

In his founding affidavit, the disgraced minister made it plain the application had to do only with the findings and recommendations relating to him.

“It appears from evidence gathered by the SIU that Digital Vibes’ appointment was indeed tainted by irregularities,” he conceded.

He insisted he was in no way involved and distanced himself from several key players, not only Mather and Mitha, but also his “effectively estranged” son, Dedani, who allegedly received significant kickbacks.

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said on Wednesday, there was “no way” Mkhize did not know what was going on.

“This is crass corruption, it lacks sophistication,” he said, adding the minister’s relationship with his son was irrelevant.

“We don’t care whether they drink tea or not, the reality is that which has been orchestrated by Digital Vibes requires the political head is held responsible.”