Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
7 Jun 2021
12:19 pm

Mkhize to appear before ANC integrity commission over Digital Vibes saga

Thapelo Lekabe

Minister has denied that he personally benefitted from the controversial contract.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has been placed on special leave. Picture: GCIS

The ANC’s integrity commission says embattled Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize will soon appear before the commission to answer to allegations of corruption involving a dodgy communications tender awarded to a company controlled by two of his former aides.

Commission chair George Mashamba confirmed on Sunday that Mkhize sent a letter to the commission indicating that he would appear.

Mashamba said the commission would soon arrange a date for his appearance.

“We did not decide on the meeting date and the contents of his letter will come out when we discuss with him. I understand this is a serious matter, but I won’t pre-empt the deliberations with the integrity commission,” he told SABC News on Sunday evening.

ALSO READ: Mkhize ‘ignores’ ANC integrity committee rules he helped to write

Mkhize has been under pressure to resign from his post after he was implicated in the R150 million irregular contract awarded by his department to Digital Vibes.

The minister has denied that he personally benefitted from the contract.

This is despite fresh claims that the company purchased a second-hand Toyota Land Cruiser for his son around the same time his department transferred about R50 million to Digital Vibes for its services.

The company was initially contracted to handle the department’s National Health Insurance communication work, but its scope was later expanded to include work on the department’s Covid-19 campaigns.

On Friday, Mkhize failed to appear before parliament’s Health Portfolio Committee citing legal advice amid a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the contract.

Mashamba said he was not concerned that Mkhize might also not pitch up for his meeting with the integrity commission.

“I wouldn’t like to second guess him, he promised that he wants to come and I don’t want to raise doubts about that,” Mashamba said.

He also declined to answer questions on whether the minister should step aside pending the finalisation of the SIU probe.

The SIU said last week its investigations into the Digital Vibes matter were at a critical stage.

SIU head Andy Mothibi told parliament’s standing committee on public accounts the unit was still gathering evidence and hoped to be done with investigations before the end of June.

“The investigation is still ongoing. We have determined the accountability levels of who was involved in the actual procurement process and those referrals will be made to the department.

“We will also look at the various allegations made in respect of other officials in the department, including the executive authority in the department and a service provider, Digital Vibes,” Mothibi said.

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