Ramaphosa is treating Mkhize with ‘kid gloves’, says Malema as he defends Brian Shivambu over VBS saga

10 June 2021 - 18:53 By nonkululeko njilo
EFF leader Julius Malema on Thursday accused President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration of being selective when dealing with individuals implicated in corruption
EFF leader Julius Malema on Thursday accused President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration of being selective when dealing with individuals implicated in corruption
Image: ALON SKUY

EFF leader Julius Malema on Thursday accused President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration of being selective when dealing with individuals implicated in corruption. 

This after Ramaphosa placed embattled health minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave amid the R150m Digital Vibes debacle.

The minister is alleged to have personally benefitted from an irregular multimillion rand contract awarded to his close associates, Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha, who both worked on his 2017 ANC presidential campaign. Digital Vibes, a company run by Mather and Mitha, won a R150m contract to handle communications for the National Health Insurance and later during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to being placed on leave on Tuesday, Mkhize said his family has said it would pay back the money.

“The EFF takes exception to the fact that minister Mkhize has been placed on special leave when he has confessed to preparedness to repay monies unduly given in the Digital Vibes scandal.

“He is being treated with kid gloves because he belongs to the Ramaphosa cabal. As a result, when it comes to his own, Ramaphosa is willing to be tolerant to corruption and give corruption special leave.

“Ramaphosa’s administration is selective in dealing with the corrupt,” Malema said.

Malema expressed these sentiments during a media briefing at the party’s headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg

At the same briefing, he defended Brian Shivambu, brother of the party’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who has been implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.

At the weekend Daily Maverick reported that Brian had signed a contract admitting to having received R4.55m in VBS loot for no valid reason. He promised to pay back the money. Brian is said to have insisted on a secrecy clause before signing an acknowledgement of debt.

Malema however, said the move was by no means an admission of wrongdoing or guilt,  but rather a compromise.

“Brian Shivambu pays his VBS things through a compromise arrangement and you want to bring that to us. Singenaphi thina? (where do we come in?)

“Once you call it a compromise, it doesn’t mean there is any party guilty, you want to just get rid of this thing. It doesn’t mean you admit liability, but for the sake of progress you say let’s move on. Yes, I got the money from Vele Investments but if its going to cause problems let me pay some of it back,” said Malema. 

The EFF leader said compromise was necessary and even the ruling party had reached compromises with the apartheid government.

“Compromise happens. This country is where it is because there was compromise.

“The ANC compromised. Did compromising mean the ANC accepted defeat? No, it meant for the sake of progress, let us move on. That’s what compromise means. It does not mean Brian Shivambu admits guilt.”

The DA earlier called on police to “speed up” investigations into charges laid by the party against Malema and his deputy.

The Sunday Times reported that Malema allegedly personally benefited from VBS funds and companies that did business with the Limpopo government. It also reported that the state capture inquiry allegedly issued SA’s major banks with subpoenas to provide all Malema’s financial records and those of his wife, Mantoa, and his late grandmother, Sarah.

Malema, however, has denied all the allegations levelled against him, saying he was not corrupt and not a “small boy”.

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