Friday, 19 July, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalMkhize claims his prominent COVID role sparked Digital Vibes probe

Mkhize claims his prominent COVID role sparked Digital Vibes probe

ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize believes the outcome of the Digital Vibes investigation was predetermined by the party’s president Cyril Ramaphosa’s inner circle to “clip my wings”.

The disgraced former Health Minister says the report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which found him responsible for the Digital Vibes scandal, is no longer an obstacle to his presidential ambitions because the SIU cannot back up its findings, the Mail & Guardian reports.

Mkhize resigned as Health Minister in August 2021 over the COVID-19 communications scandal, which cost the Department of Health R150m. The money was paid to Digital Vibes, the communications company linked to his former spokesperson, Tahera Mather, and his former personal assistant, Naadhira Mitha.

Mkhize’s son, Dedani, was found to have benefitted by more than R1m from the Digital Vibes contract. Money was channelled to his farming business and also to fund the operation of vanity businesses linked to Dedani and his wife.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian, Mkhize cast aspersions on Ramaphosa’s inner circle, saying he believed the role he played during the while Health Minister had “overshadowed” other party leaders.

Ramaphosa had defended Mkhize when the Digital Vibes scandal broke, asking the media to be “considerate” towards the then Health Minister, who he said had served the nation well during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The reality being that, from where I sit, there had been people out there who actually felt that the leadership role that one played over time was overshadowing other leaders. And therefore, some effort was made to kind of clip my wings,” Mkhize said.

He had become “convinced” that there had been “ulterior” and “malicious” motives behind the SIU findings, which he is challenging in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria).

While Mkhize has gone to great pains to convince the public that his name has been cleared, the SIU has released statement after statement denying it.

In its latest statement last week, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the institution had not cleared anyone in the Digital Vibes matter, adding that it was pending in the High Court.

Mkhize said the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) had confirmed that they were not investigating him regarding the Digital Vibes matter.

“I understand the outrage. I understand the criticism and I understand the disappointment that people have had on this matter, irrespective of my non-culpability or guilt,” Mkhize said.

“There are lessons that we have learned. I would say that in future, we also obviously learned a lot of lessons to be able to bet against any things that will give any sort of pitfalls.

“As far as this matter is concerned, I do not think that it will be standing in our way on anything, because the SIU has not been able to produce any of the evidence of the allegations (against me).

“I said originally, that their report was flawed – their report was factually incorrect – and that the report was showing a predetermined idea to verify and make your respective of any evidence that they submitted,” he said.

“Now, where we are is that the SIU has confirmed that their allegation that I transgressed the resolution of Cabinet is based on a document that they do not have – is based on a document that they have never seen. The question to me is, ‘so how do you find me guilty on an issue like that?’”

Mkhize said the funds that flowed to his son, Dedani, “were not linked to the contract with the Department of Health” and that this had been explained to the SIU.

Despite this, the money had been paid back to the state.

Mkhize said he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by Parliament’s multiparty Ethics Committee, which had found that he could not be held responsible for benefits to an adult offspring.

He said the SIU’s finding that he had “instructed officials to award the contract to people because I knew them” was flawed, because “we explained to them that Ministers do not get involved in procurement”.

It is not clear when Mkhize’s high court challenge involving the SIU will be concluded.

 

Mail & Guardian – siu-report-was-predetermined-by-ramaphosa-inner-circle-to-clip-my-wings-zweli-mkhize-claims/

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Tribunal dismisses Digital Vibes beneficiaries’ bid to avoid scrutiny

 

Mkhize accuses SIU of delaying Digital Vibes probe

 

Mkhize’s political ambitions under pressure as Hawks probe criminal charges

 

 

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appreciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.