Looking at the current shambles around the second phase of Covid-19 vaccinations, however, one thing is
crystal clear: Mkhize’s department has fallen woefully short on communication.
If Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is telling the truth – and we so hope that he is, for no other reason than we need at least one honest government minister – then he must be one of the most unlucky politicians in South Africa today.
Unlucky because he is being dragged into a financial scandal. Unlucky because the scandal involves a company linked to his former personal assistant and to people he appears to have known personally.
And, finally, triple unlucky because no-one in the department of health thought to warn him of the perception of a conflict of interest in awarding a communications tender to a company whose owners had some
sort of connection with him.
Obviously, a probe is under way by the Special Investigating Unit into what Mkhize admits is R35 million in “irregular expenditure” in the Covid-19 communication contract – so it would be premature to pass judgment on the minister.
However, what we note is that the minister’s tone has been echoed multiple times in denials by ANC heavyweights that they have been involved in dodgy doings.
Looking at the facts which are not in dispute, it seems that Mhkize’s department paid a company called Digital Vibes more than R150 million since the beginning of last year for “communication services” – and that at least some of these services could have been obtained much cheaper elsewhere.
Looking at the current shambles around the second phase of Covid-19 vaccinations, however, one thing is crystal clear: Mkhize’s department has fallen woefully short on communication.
People over the age of 60 do not know what is going on: Can you simply “walk in” and get vaccinated, or must you be called by SMS? Communicating simply does not require huge expenditure.
You should know this yourself, minister, without having to be told.