Zweli Mkhize

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Will Zweli Mkhize face a criminal investigation? Pressure mounts on minister

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has found himself in hot water this week, after media reports linked him to a dodgy R82 million ‘COVID tender’.

Zweli Mkhize

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

This isn’t a great look for our Health Minister. Zweli Mkhize has been accused of handing lucrative contracts to two close associates, at the height of the ‘pandemic feeding frenzy’ which took place last year. Prominent government figures were lambasted for illegally profiting from the race to make SA ‘COVID-secure’ – and the rot, allegedly, goes to the top.

What is Zweli Mkhize accused of?

According to the Daily Maverick, a communications company from KwaZulu-Natal, Digital Vibes, appointed two close associates of Mkhize as paid consultants after it secured a communications contract from the DoH, one of them being “family friend” Tahera Mather. The outfit was paid R82 million to provide COVID-related services to the Department. 

The DoH supposedly appointed Digital Vibes in late 2019 through a tender to provide communications services for the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) roll-out. The scope was then extended in March 2020 to include communications services for COVID-19. 

DA demand ‘criminal investigation’

Siviwe Gwarube serves as the Shadow Health Minister. She has chastised Zweli Mkhize, accusing him of ‘using his influence’ to dish out favourable tenders. According to the DA representative, these allegations warrant an SIU probe.

“The DA will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation into these very serious allegations. Corruption during this Covid-19 pandemic has reached crisis levels. We have seen politicians use their influence and proximity to certain individuals to improperly award contracts.”

“That is why it is important for the President to act swiftly and ensure that the facts around this alleged improper contract are exposed and those guilty of this egregious crime are held accountable. We note that the Department of Health has launched an investigation into these allegations, but investigations must be independent of any possible internal influence.”

Siviwe Gwarube on the allegations made against Zweli Mkhize