SIU Mkhize

Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Mkhize in the spotlight after ‘family friend’ allegedly scores DoH contract

Allegations have surfaced which may see Health Minister Zweli Mkhize having to explain a contract that was awarded by the Department of Health.

SIU Mkhize

Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Explosive claims have put Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and his dealings, so to speak, under the spotlight. A Daily Maverick Scorpio investigation has culminated in a lengthy article that alleges that Mkhize’s long time associate, spokesperson and “family friend” Tahera Mather benefitted from a Department of Health (DoH) contract. 


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 Mather. 

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. 

The publication alleged that in a period of just nine months, the firm obtained orders from the DoH for COVID-19 projects valued at more than R82 million.

Digital Vibes supposedly also secured a contract from Cogta in 2018 while Mkhize led the department. According to the Daily Maverick, Mather in both instances, scored consultancy jobs from the firm after it had secured the government contracts.


After Digital Vibes won the NHI contract, the company allegedly also appointed Naadhira Mitha, a former assistant private secretary in Mkhize’s office when he was minister of Cogta. 

“In other words, two associates of Mkhize have pocketed emergency COVID-19 cash from the DoH via their consultancy work for a company appointed by the department,” the publication said. 

The DoH and Mkhize confirmed to the publication that Mather “assisted the office of the [ANC] TG [treasurer-general] with specific activities” when Mkhize occupied that position at the ANC’s headquarters. They also allegedly confirmed that Mitha had worked as Mkhize’s personal assistant. 

“We further confirm that the individuals referred to in the questions are not employed by the Department of Health. Therefore, the department has no legal reason or authority to limit their participation in any business activity or other employment opportunities,” their response went on to say. 

The DoH supposedly told the publication that it is investigating the deal. The South African reached out to the DoH for comment, however, there was no response at the time of publication.