Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
6 Aug 2021
3:32 pm

Mkhize to file application for review of SIU’s Digital Vibes report

Molefe Seeletsa

Zweli Mkhize is accused of putting pressure on the Department of Health to hire Digital Vibes and benefiting from the R150 million contract.

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

Former health minister Zweli Mkhize is preparing to approach the courts with an application to have the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) report into Digital Vibes’ R150 million contract with the Department of Health reviewed.

This comes after Mkhize resigned from his position on Thursday after meeting President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in the day.

ALSO READ: Mkhize can’t account for Digital Vibes while on special leave, says ANC MP

The move happened ahead of Ramaphosa’s much-anticipated Cabinet reshuffle, where he announced Dr Joe Phaahla as the new minister of health.

There had been calls from opposition for Ramaphosa to get rid of Mkhize, who was on special leave after he was implicated in impropriety in the Digital Vibes report complied by the SIU.

However, the former minister made the job easier for Ramaphosa by tendering his resignation to the president through a letter.

SIU report ‘flawed’

In his resignation letter, Mkhize told Ramaphosa that he would turn to the courts because the SIU had proceeded unfairly and produced a “flawed and unfounded report”.

“I write this letter to confirm formally that, on advice of my legal team, I will be instituting an application in the high court for the judicial review of the SIU report.

“The report and the findings made by the SIU are vitiated by what my legal team characterises as its misconduct during the investigation, comprising several identifiable and serious irregularities.

“Mr President, it is regrettably clear that the SIU worked with a predetermined outcome and a closed mind in the investigation, proceeded unfairly and reached a flawed and unfounded report,” Mkhize said. 

READ MORE: Digital Vibes: Over R1 million spent on hair salon, nail franchise for Mkhize’s family

The former minister said that he had been unfairly treated by the SIU during their investigation into the Digital Vibes contract, which is similar to what his son, Dedani, has also repeatedly voiced.

He further said the SIU findings would not go unchallenged.

“I believe that it is important to allow a court to reach an independent conclusion concerning the legality of the SIU investigative process, and the conclusions and findings it made, since our engagements with them. The SIU’s conduct and conclusions cannot be ignored or left unchallenged.”

Mkhize ‘benefited’ from Digital Vibes contract

While it has been almost a month since Ramaphosa received the SIU’s final report, the investigating unit is seeking to review and set aside the multimillion-rand tender awarded to Digital Vibes, which is purportedly owned by Mkhize’s close associate Tahera Mather.

Digital Vibes was initially contracted to handle the department’s National Health Insurance (NHI) communication work, but its scope was later expanded to include work on the department’s Covid-19 campaigns.

READ MORE: Digital Vibes: Over R1 million spent on hair salon, nail franchise for Mkhize’s family

The SIU has already filed a 90-page affidavit to the Special Tribunal in a bid to recover the R150 million paid to Digital Vibes.

The investigating unit has also recommended that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider charging Mkhize and his son, Dedani, for corruption over “suspicious payments” funnelled from Digital Vibes.

Mkhize is accused of putting pressure on the Department of Health to hire Digital Vibes and benefiting from R6,720 in repairs to his home, which was paid for by the company.