The ANC’s integrity commission has reportedly recommended that suspended Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize should step aside over the controversial R150 million contract awarded to Digital Vibes.
According to a Mail & Guardian report on Tuesday, ANC insiders said the commission completed its report and it was handed to the party’s officials.
The report was expected to be tabled at the ANC’s next national executive committee (NEC) meeting for consideration.
In June, Mkhize wrote to the integrity commission requesting a meeting to state his side of the story involving the irregular contract awarded by the national Department of Health to Digital Vibes – a company linked to his close associates.
The report reportedly implicates Mkhize and the department’s deputy director-general, Dr Anban Pillay, for allegedly pressuring officials to appoint the company.
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.
SIU to recover R150m paid to Digital Vibes
Last week, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) filed a founding affidavit to the Special Tribunal in a bid to review and set aside the multimillion-rand tender. The unit wants to recover the R150 million paid to Digital Vibes and individuals who received payments from the company.
It has also been reported that Mkhize and his son, Dedani, have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by the SIU to consider charging them for corruption over “suspicious payments” they received from Digital Vibes.
According to several media reports, Dedani allegedly received money in large boxes from the company. Digital Vibes also purchased a second-hand Toyota Land Cruiser for him around the same time the Health Department transferred about R50 million to the company for its services.
Mkhize has always maintained his innocence in the scandal, saying he did not personally benefit from the contract even though his family could have.
Ramaphosa ‘studying SIU report’
The SIU completed its report in late June and submitted it to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa last week said he was still studying it and appealed to be given space, despite growing calls for him to reshuffle his Cabinet and fire Mkhize.
“I have received the SIU report [and] there is still some finalisation of certain aspects which we are going to get to. So, I’m looking at it and I’m studying it. Allow me the time and the space to look at that,” the president said.