Ex-minister Zweli Mkhize wants Digital Vibes investigation to be shelved
The SIU investigated the irregular tender last year after claiming that Mkhize, his family and close associates had personally benefited from the contract. The tender was for the Department of Health’s National Health Insurance (NHI) communications work and later Covid-19 media campaigns.
Digital Vibes, a communications company, was allegedly owned by Mkhize’s close associate Tahera Mather.
Mkhize denied any wrongdoing and was placed on pretrial suspension in June. He then resigned in October 2021 ahead of a cabinet reshuffle.
According to a Municipal press report, Mkhize wants the SIU to produce a Cabinet resolution that he says proves he broke the law by awarding the NHI communications contract to Digital Vibes when the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) could have done the job.
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He approached the High Court in Pretoria in December last year, asking the court to force the SIU to comply with the court’s rules and provide him with the Cabinet resolution regarding the GCIS. Mkhize wants the SIU’s opposition to his request dismissed if the investigative unit fails to produce the resolution, the report reads.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is the second defendant in the motion.
In response to Mkhize’s articles, the SIU said it would oppose his second motion to rescind the report. He filed a responding affidavit a week after Mkhize filed his motion.
This is not the first time that the former minister has challenged the damning report which was about to put an end to his political career. He applied to the High Court last year to have the findings against him quashed, saying his long career was in jeopardy by the investigation.
The damning findings showed how millions of public funds were spent on, among other things, home improvements, a hair salon and nail salon franchise, luxury vacations and designer clothes by associates and members of the Mkhize family.
The department incurred irregular expenditure of almost R150 million and wasteful and wasteful expenditure of between R72 million and R80 million, the SIU said at the time.
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