Political experts were on Tuesday unanimous that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize – currently on special leave over the R150 million Digital Vibes irregular contract scandal – was politically too important to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be hastily shown the door.
First exposed by a Daily Maverick report for allegedly benefitting – along with son Dedani and close associates, from the communications tender – Mkhize was pinned to the wall by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report pointing to his complicity.
Among allegations in the SIU affidavit are:
- Dedani Mkhize received more than R4.2 million in EFTs, as well as cash in plastic bags and cardboard boxes;
- Digital Vibes spent R6 720 refurbishing Mkhize’s Bryanston home in Johannesburg; and
- A total of R14.22 million pocketed by Strategeewhizz – a company owned by Naadhira Mitha, Tahera Mather’s niece and Mkhize’s former personal assistant.
The SIU has challenged Dedani Mkhize’s allegations that the unit’s findings were based on newspaper reports.
The SIU said: “Mr Mkhize acknowledges having received money from Tahera Mather, one of the key individuals in the running of the communication firm that scored a R150 million contract to do a Covid media campaign.
“The SIU would like to place it on record that Mr Mkhize made written submissions, which were thoroughly considered as part of the investigation. It can, therefore, not be true he was not afforded an opportunity to be heard.”
University of South Africa professor Dirk Kotze said Ramaphosa was bound to lose “a most senior person in his Cabinet, coming from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), a former premier, provincial chair and former ANC treasurer-general”.
“Mr Mkhize is a very senior person who played a very important role in the politics of KwaZulu-Natal and linking KZN to President Ramaphosa – as a way of providing him with a constituency in that province.”
Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said Mkhize was very important to the Ramaphosa political agenda, but he could not be saved.