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'R82m isn't pocket change' - 5 reactions to tender linked to Zweli Mkhize's associates

26 February 2021 - 11:08 By unathi nkanjeni
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has welcomed the investigation by the SIU.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has welcomed the investigation by the SIU.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

Alleged corruption claims have put health minister Zweli Mkhize in the spotlight, drawing strong reaction online.

This week, the Daily Maverick reported that Mkhize’s long-time associate, spokesperson and “family friend” Tahera Mather allegedly benefited from Covid-19 contracts issued by the department of health valued at more than R82m.

According to the publication, a communications company, Digital Vibes, appointed two close associates of Mkhize as paid consultants after it secured a contract from the department.

One of the associates was Mather and the other was a former assistant to the minister, Naadhira Mitha.

It is also alleged that the same company scored a tender while Mkhize was minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

On Wednesday, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said it was investigating Mkhize’s close associates.

Addressing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, Mkhize welcomed the probe, saying it was part of the commitment government made that allegations of any form of corruption must be investigated.

He said because the allegations have raised public interest, the outcomes of the investigation would be reported to the public.

“We very much appreciate and support that, as part of accountability, clean governance and ensuring compliance with the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] and Treasury regulations by the department,” he said.  

“Where allegations of irregularities and non-compliance have been brought to our attention through an audit finding or whistle-blowing, the department must interrogate these.”

Many on social media, including One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane and the EFF, said Mkhize should step down from office while the investigations took place.

Here are some of the reactions:

'Mkhize cannot be trusted with vaccine procurement processes'

'R82m is not pocket change'

'We can't absorb this any longer'

'There are always corruption stories popping up'

'The rebrand usually works after you take accountability and show remorse'