Deliberate delaying tactics by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) are stalling progress in the Digital Vibes probe, lawyers acting for former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize claim.
Mkhize, who has yet to publicly speak about his presidential ambition, is desperate to clear his name before nominations for the ANC’s top leadership position officially open in August.
However, reports Business Day, it’s only a matter of time before KwaZulu-Natal officially announces Mkhize as its candidate for the top position.
The disgraced former Health Minister, along with the newly-elected ANC KZN leadership, including chair Siboniso Duma, held meetings with ANC Gauteng leaders on Thursday in efforts to sway the Gauteng leadership to support Mkhize’s leadership campaign.
Clearing his name of corruption allegations before the leadership contest is crucial for Mkhize, who resigned last year after the SIU’s investigation and report that said the irregular R150m Health Department contract was awarded to his associates.
In a letter sent to the SIU from Mkhize’s lawyers, the unit is accused of not providing them with complete transcripts of the SIU’s key witness, referred to as Ms Matsoso.
Last Wednesday, Mkhize’s attorney, Thando Mbili, asked the SIU to provide full transcripts of witness statements, as well as court-ready documents that are “indexed and paginated”, so Mkhize can complete his court bid to oppose and set aside the SIU’s findings against him.
“Despite us repeatedly requesting that you furnish us with all the transcripts of your key witness, and her interviews, you have failed to do so… it is evident you have elected to give an incomplete transcript of one of the interviews held,” the attorney said in a letter.
Mkhize’s legal team is also awaiting proof of a Cabinet resolution that the Government Communication and Information Service was responsible for the NHI and COVID-19 campaigns.
An SIU investigation in 2021 found that the awarding of the Health Ministry contract to Digital Vibes to deliver on the NHI and COVID-19 media campaigns was irregular, as were subsequent extensions and modifications of the contract.
The matter was handed to the NPA in July 2021. In August, Mkhize resigned from his post as Health Minister.
A further SIU report handed to Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2021 concluded that Mkhize had directly influenced the Department of Health’s decision to award a R150m contract to Digital Vibes, and that he and his family had allegedly benefited financially from the deal, which Mkhize has denied.
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