Health minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Health minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The ANC integrity committee is preparing to call health minister Zweli Mkhize to appear before it to explain allegations of a dodgy communication contract linked to his close associates.

Chair George Mashamba says Mkhize has not yet approached the committee, nor has the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) referred him to the integrity committee. Mashamba says the integrity committee is looking into the allegations and will then invite the minister to appear before it to explain himself. The committee will then compile a report and make recommendations about a course of action to the NEC. 

The Daily Maverick has reported that close associates of Mkhize ran a front company called Digital Vibes which received an irregular R150m contract from the health department to handle communications about the Covid pandemic.

Mkhize has denied that he benefited from the contract, but the Daily Maverick reported that the minister’s son’s company received R300,000 from Digital Vibes and that renovations valued at about R7,000 were done  on a property belonging to Mkhize in Joburg. The latest report from the Daily Maverick indicates that Digital Vibes also bought Mkhize’s son a Land Cruiser vehicle which he used on his farm.

The controversy about Mkhize has placed President Cyril Ramaphosa in a tight spot. He has said that he is waiting for a Special Investigating Unit report about the matter before deciding on a course of action. 

Mkhize will very likely have to leave the key post as health minister, but an acute difficulty for Ramaphosa would be who to replace him with, without further delaying SA's already slow and defective vaccination roll-out. So far only 1-million jabs have been administered due to the government’s tardy start to negotiating vaccine procurement for the country. 

It also comes as SA faces a third wave of the Corona pandemic.

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