President Cyril Ramaphosa has released a report from South Africa’s Special Investigations Unit stating that former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize lied when he said neither he nor his family have benefitted from a multi-million-rand tender for disseminating information about government efforts in combatting COVID 19.
The report says Mkhize, who was placed on special leave last June when details of the R150-million tender to the company Digital Vibes became known, “showed a distinct lack of oversight” in the matter.
Money from the deal was used to buy Mkhize’s son a motor car and he personally received a $20 000 payment and money that was used for repairs to his property.
Mkhize, who resigned last August, denies any wrongdoing
The SIU report says the Director General of the Health Department Auban Pillay should be criminally prosecuted for irregularly authorizing the payment to Digital Vibes.
It says there are grounds for executive action by Ramaphosa against Mkhize.
This places the ball squarely in the court of a man committed to rooting corruption in the ruling party.
Digital Vibes is owned by two close associates of Mkhize. It was run by a woman who works at a petrol station. She denies being used as a front for the company.
The SIU said it nearly had to abandon its investigation when Tahera Mather and Naadira Mitha of Digital Vibes refused to answer questions citing their constitutional right against self incrimination.
The pair, who were among a dozen people earmarked for investigation, stated their intention to approach the High Court to test the constitutionality of the SIU Act.
The report is a blow to a man given credit for decisive and speedy action in the campaign against COVID.
Mkhize impressed diplomats and business executives who met him and saw him as a possible future leader of the ruling African National Congress.