POLL | Is suspending ministers enough?

02 August 2021 - 13:10 By unathi nkanjeni
Suspended health minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo.
Suspended health minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

The list of ministers who face suspension or are suspended from their duties continues to grow. 

The latest minister to have been placed on suspension was health minister Zweli Mkhize, pending investigations concerning contracts between the health department and service provider Digital Vibes.

The department is accused of awarding Digital Vibes a “dodgy” tender worth R150m for communications regarding the National Health Insurance (NHI) rollout in 2019. 

However, Mkhize denied benefiting personally from the contract. He also distanced himself from individuals implicated in the scandal, saying they were not his personal friends but comrades.

Speaking to the media, while visiting Covid-19 vaccination sites in Thembisa and Midrand in Gauteng, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he had received the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report regarding the investigation into the Digital Vibes scandal. 

However, Ramaphosa said there were still some “issues” to be completed before he can take any decision on the matter. 

“The report is with me and there are a few issues that need to be completed,” he said. 

“Once all of that has been done, I will come out and explain to the nation exactly how I am going to deal with that report. I know there is impatience, but it's not a matter that I am going to sit on forever and a day. It will come out and we will be able to explain,” Ramaphosa added.

Last year, the president suspended minister of communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for two months, one without pay, after a public outcry over her violation of the lockdown.

Ndabeni-Abrahams was also criminally charged for breaching lockdown regulations after visiting ANC NEC member and former higher education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana at his private residence. 

She was charged with contravention of regulation 11B of the Disaster Management Act and was served with a summons to appear in the Pretoria district court. 

Ndabeni-Abrahams paid a R1,000 admission of guilt fine for breaking the rules. 

TimesLIVE recently ran a poll asking the public which ministers they thought would be on the chopping block in a cabinet reshuffle. 

The poll garnered more than 19,000 votes, with Mkhize and Ndabeni-Abrahams among the list of ministers who respondents believed should be fired. 

More than 11% of poll respondents voted for Mkhize to be fired and 8.64% votes said Ndabeni-Abrahams should follow suit. 

Just under 4% of the voters suggested that Ramaphosa should fire all the ministers.


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