COVID-19 third wave

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Digital Vibes: DA to lay charges against Zweli Mkhize

The DA has said that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize cannot lead the fight against COVID-19, amid the Digital Vibes scandal

COVID-19 third wave

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

By the end of Thursday, June 3, 2021, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize could be facing criminal charges, in connection with the R150 million contract awarded to communications company Digital Vibes. The Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to open a case against him at the Cape Town Station at 11:00.

The DA has been nothing short of vocal in its call for Mkhize to face scrutiny over questionable links to the company and have bemoaned President Cyril Ramaphosa for not taking “appropriate” action against him.

“The DA has long called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to break his silence on this matter and take action against Minister Mkhize. He cannot be entrusted with leading the national response on Covid-19 while there are damning allegations levelled against him”

DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube

It was learnt via Daily Maverick that two women linked to Mkhize – Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha benefited from Digital Vibes’ lucrative contract with the Department of Health by working for the company as paid consultants.

It is alleged that Digital Vibes wildly inflated the costs of setting up Mkhize’s briefings during the COVID-19 pandemic, with funds from the DoH funneled into a host of obscure third-party bank accounts. The minister has vehemently denied having any knowledge of these irregular processes, however, and maintains his innocence.

However the latest revelations are rather damning against Mkhize and Digital Vibes, which will soon have to cough up the money unduly earned from the health department, as the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has already announced steps to recover some of the funds.

What is known so far: Digital Vibes paid R300 000 to a company belonging to Mkhize’s son, Dedani and also bought him a R160 000 Toyota Land Cruiser for his farm in Pietermaritzburg.

DA also gunning for Health DG over Digital Vibes saga

Well, Zweli Mkhize isn’t the only one that the DA is taking aim at in the Digital Vibes scandal and intends opening a criminal case against the Department of Health’s Director-General, Dr Sandile Buthelezi.

“In addition, the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) explicitly states that the signing off of any contracts is the function of the accounting officer and not the executive authority – as was allegedly the case with Minister Mkhize. Therefore, the Health DG, Dr Buthelezi must also be investigated for his involvement and possible contravention of the PFMA with gross negligence,” the DA added.