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Ramaphosa must act without fear or favour on Digital Vibes scandal – political parties

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The Special Investigation Unit and the Presidency are to make presentations before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday, during which details of the report into the R150 million Health Department tender awarded to Digital Vibes were expected to be heard.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

AS PORT OF their presentation to parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday, both the SIU and the Presidency are expected to reveal details of the report into the R150 million Department of Health tender awarded to Digital Vibes.

This follows the report into the multimillion-rand contract being submitted by the SIU to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday following an intense and fast-tracked investigation into the controversial contract.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize was last month placed on special leave by Ramaphosa after being implicated in the scandal amid allegations that he benefited from the R150 million contract given to Digital Vibes.

Mkhize finds himself in the eye of the storm in the scandal due to his close associates Tahera Mather, Mkhize’s long time spokesperson, and Naadhira Mitha, Mkhize’s former personal assistant, doing work for Digital Vibes.

Mather and Mitha have subsequently been accused by the company’s owner and director Radha Hariram of then embezzling around R80 million from the company.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, chairperson of Scopa, confirmed to Independent Media yesterday that both the SIU and the Presidency were to make presentations before the committee on Tuesday, during which details of the report were expected to be heard.

Hlengwa also called for Ramaphosa to make the report public and for him and law enforcement agencies to act on the recommendations of the report.

“Coincidentally, that report will form part and parcel of the presentation by the Presidency and the SIU to Scopa next week Tuesday, but the President must act on whatever the recommendations are.

“We also want the report to be public so that we can get past this difficult moment which is causing anxiety in the sense that the focus of the health sector is not on the pandemic now but on the cloud over the minister, notwithstanding the fact that he’s on suspension, and the fact that we’ve got an acting minister and that is not sustainable,” Hlengwa said.

Narend Singh, IFP chief whip in parliament, said that they expected that Ramaphosa would act without fear or favour and do what is right for the country by standing up to his dictum that he, as the president, not only of the country, but as ANC president, will not tolerate corruption in any form.

“If anybody, including the minister, has been found in the report to be confirmed as having entered into corrupt activities, then the axe must fall,” Singh said.

Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, ACDP president and member of Parliament, said that they were waiting for the revelation of what had happened with the contract and whether or not Mkhize, currently on special leave, had benefited from the contract or not.

“We are really hoping that the president will act swiftly on the recommendations and that the minister should be charged. I think when it comes to the minister of health, there should be no mercy at all because he’s the one who should be more compassionate because of what he’s seen.

“This case should be prioritised over other cases because of his position, and he has seen the suffering amongst the people more than any other person. He has seen the suffering of not only the patients, but also of the nurses, some of which did not even have PPEs,” Meshoe said.

He added that if Mkhize did benefit, a strong message has to be sent to the public, and strong action should be taken against the minister because he should be more sensitive about such monies.

Due to his position as minister of health, he had been exposed to serious conditions and suffering that many people have not seen.

Political Bureau

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