Zweli Mkhize's former spokesperson denies links to company paid millions by Digital Vibes

01 August 2021 - 18:33 By TimesLIVE
Suspended health minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo.
Suspended health minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo.

Ndabezinhle Sibiya, former spokesperson for embattled health minister Zweli Mkhize, has denied having any links to a company that allegedly scored millions in an unlawful contract from the department of health.

Sibiya was named in court papers by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) as having “potential” links to Sotobe Media that received R9.78m from Digital Vibes.

The Sunday Times reported that a 90-page affidavit was filed at the Special Tribunal as part of the SIU's bid to recover the R150m it claims was unlawfully paid to Digital Vibes, the company that health department officials allegedly bent over backwards to appoint in a rigged tender process.

It further reported that at least 20 companies and people, including Sotobe Media, received payments of R90m from Digital Vibes for having done no work. The SIU claimed this was a possible money laundering scheme.

Sibiya on Sunday said he had no links to Sotobe Media and urged both the SIU and the Sunday Times to retract what he said were claims not supported by fact implicating him in alleged money laundering activity by Digital Vibes.

“I know no company by the name of Sotobe Media or any of its directors. I have never met them. And I have never phoned any of the directors since I was born years ago,” Sibiya said in a statement.

“Those who have dragged my name into the mud will face consequences. I will take them to the cleaners.”

According to Sibiya there was nothing linking him to Sotobe Media and that a quick company search would have revealed this.

“As a hard-working and dedicated public servant, I do not own Sotobe Media, nor [am I] involved in any private companies, directly and indirectly. My declaration of interests is public record.

“With a lot of information publicly available that could have easily disproved the false claim that I am ‘potentially related’ to Sotobe Media, it is clear that whoever bulldozed the baseless claim through had a sinister motive,” he said.

Sibiya was linked to Digital Vibes through the SIU court papers filed at the Special Tribunal from which the Sunday Times reported.

Those court papers named him along with people and companies linked to Mkhize, his family and friends, as well those linked to the real owners of Digital Vibes, Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha.

They are said to have received millions from the R150m that Digital Vibes unlawfully scored from the health department.