MPs pile on the pressure for Ramaphosa to act against Mkhize

'Are you comfortable with having a health minister who is accused, along with his family, of benefiting from an irregular Digital Vibes contract?' DA MP asks

02 June 2021 - 17:13 By zimasa matiwane
President Cyril Ramaphosa and health minister Zweli Mkhize at a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in March 2020. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and health minister Zweli Mkhize at a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in March 2020. File photo.
Image: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa's plea for patience amid growing calls for him to act against alleged cronyism and corruption involving health minister Zweli Mkhize were rejected by opposition parties on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa said appropriate action would be taken when an SIU investigation into the R150m Digital Vibes contract was complete. However, he encountered more pressure from opposition leaders to sack Mkhize.

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The DA's Dean Macpherson said ANC leaders were the real pandemic and that the president had failed the biggest challenge of his presidency.

“Instead of procuring vaccines, your comrades were obsessed with stealing money meant for jabs. They were the real pandemic in SA,” said Macpherson.

“You have remained silent on the biggest test of your leadership through this time, and that is the alleged corruption involving health minister Zweli Mkhize and Digital Vibes.”

He said the governing ANC could not get anything done because “its only purpose is to lie, steal and cheat”.

Macpherson threw down the gauntlet to Ramaphosa, asking him: “Are you comfortable with having a health minister who is accused, along with his family, of benefiting from an irregular Digital Vibes contract?”

He added that South Africans don't need time and space, but demanded action as “people's lives depend on it”.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC government had mismanaged the Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme, putting millions of lives at risk.

“The minister you have entrusted with the Covid-19 rollout is busy looting money with unnecessary public relations while nurses and doctors do not have access to vaccines,” said Malema.

He accused Ramaphosa's government of over-dependence on Western countries for inoculation, saying this had also contributed to the slow access to Covid-19 vaccines.

This comes a day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) granted emergency authorisation for China's Sinovac vaccine.

Malema criticised Ramaphosa and his government for being “obsessed” with transactions over saving lives regarding vaccine procurements.

“You go around complaining that the Western countries are hoarding vaccines. We know that Sinovac has sufficient efficiency rate and the Chinese are not hoarding it. Russia's Sputnik is also not being hoarded.

“It's the obsession with the European and American Covid-19 vaccines motivated by profit blinding you and your government to alternatives,” he said.

Malema warned the president that Covid-19 deaths as a result of lack of vaccine provisions would be blamed on him.

“You will be a president that has failed to rescue our people when they needed you, like in Marikana when our people needed you, you were not there for them.”

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