ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has defended Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, calling for the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) probe to be completed first before any action can be taken against him.
On Thursday evening, Mantashe participated in a zoom lecture on “revolutionary morality” hosted by the ANC in the Sarah Baartman region of the Eastern Cape.
The party’s chairperson said the law had to take its course before a decision about suspending Mkhize could be taken.
“They will insult you, but what they should be asking for really is to allow the investigation of the allegations. Now if we listen to [DA leader John] Steenhuisen every time he says somebody must be fired, we’ll be left with nobody. The issue must be investigated, establish the truth, then we take action. That is my view,” said Mantashe.
Mantashe’s comments come in the wake of growing concerns after the health minister’s close associates were accused of scoring a R150-million state contract.
It was awarded to a company called Digital Vibes for communication about the NHI rollout, and later extended to government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mantashe defended Mkhize and said the they couldn’t listen to opposition parties and lobby groups which were trying to dictate who should be suspended or not.
“I see that as occupational hazard… as a mine worker when I go underground, I can’t avoid dust and effects of dust when I work underground. It is like that when you are leading a portfolio that is critical and busy, like health today,” he said.
The ANC chairperson has also defended the party’s position when it came to voting with the DA on the issue of the public protector in parliament. A move which has been criticised by some of the ANC’s NEC, members.
“A process is started by Parliament. Halfway through that process and we are not even talking about removing or not removing the PP. We are talking about establishing a committee which will look into those issues.
“It is not voting with the DA when we table budgets in Parliament. We vote with the DA on the majority of things, so don’t vulgarise language,” he said.