SIU to conclude investigation into Digital Vibes and Zweli Mkhize by end of June

Health minister has shown ‘co-operation’

02 June 2021 - 14:00 By nonkululeko njilo
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has been under intense scrutiny over R150m paid by the health department to a communications company involving two of his close associates.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has been under intense scrutiny over R150m paid by the health department to a communications company involving two of his close associates.  
Image: GCIS

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says its ongoing investigation into the awarding of a multimillion-rand contract to Digital Vibes, a company linked to health minister Zweli Mkhize, has reached a “critical” stage and is expected to be complete by month-end.

Mkhize has been under intense scrutiny over R150m paid by the health department to the communications company involving two of his close associates.  

The Daily Maverick reported on Tuesday that the company allegedly bought a second-hand Land Cruiser for Mkhize’s son, Dedani.

The unit gave a comprehensive presentation and provided an update on investigations related to personal protective equipment (PPE) to parliament’s public finance watchdog, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), on Wednesday. 

SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi confirmed its investigation had found the procurement process in awarding the tender was irregular, as per Mkhize’s earlier pronouncement.

“We have determined the accountability levels of who was involved in the procurement process and referrals will be made to the department. 

“We will also look at the allegations made in respect to other officials in the department, including the executive authority and the service provider that have been identified.

“We are at a critical stage of the investigation. At this stage I am constrained in terms of going into detail as that would have the potential to prejudice the investigation. We are investigating all of the allegations. The minister [Mkhize] has expressed his co-operation,” Mothibi said. 

Regarding what would happen next, Mothibi said the investigating teams were following legal provisions in the SIU act and would call witnesses to be interviewed under oath.   

Earlier this year, the SIU set itself a deadline of August 2021 to complete all its investigations related to Covid-19. Mothibi said he was confident they would be able to meet the deadline. He was also confident the Digital Vibes investigation would be completed speedily.

“It is important to indicate we envisage to complete this investigation by the end of June, although the overall investigation into PPE would be concluded in August. We continue to get information through whistle-blowers and other means,” he said.  

The unit said once its investigation had been concluded, it would compile a report to be forwarded to President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

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