Dr Zweli Mkhize on Thursday resigned as health minister just ahead of a cabinet reshuffle. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
Dr Zweli Mkhize on Thursday resigned as health minister just ahead of a cabinet reshuffle. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

Suspended health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize resigned on Thursday, just hours before President Cyril Ramaphosa was set to announce a cabinet reshuffle.

Mkhize told Ramaphosa of his intention to take on the Special Investigating Unit by subjecting the corruption-busting unit’s report to a judicial review.

In his resignation letter Mkhize accused the SIU of having had a predetermined outcome and a closed mind in their investigation into the R150m Digital Vibes contract.

Mkhize accused the SIU of having proceeded with the investigation unfairly and having reached a flawed and unfounded report.

In a letter dated August 5 Mkhize requested that Ramaphosa allow him to step down “in order to bring certainty and stability to this important portfolio”.

The embattled minister tendered his resignation earlier following a 3-hour meeting in Durban on Wednesday with one of the president’s emissaries.

Mkhize was placed on special leave in June following revelations that his family and close associates benefited from the allegedly irregular Digital Vibes communications contract amounting to R150m.

Mkhize was widely lauded for his deft handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in SA, receiving praise at home and abroad for heeding the advice of scientists.

However, his reputation was decimated after Daily Maverick reported in February that his close associates, alleged friend Tahera Mather and his former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha, received about R150m from the department of health through a rigged communications tender through the company, Digital Vibes.

Mather is Mkhize’s long-time associate and communications adviser from his days as minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

It is believed the president’s emissary also held a meeting with defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, but this could not be corroborated.  

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