SIU to probe claims of tender irregularities against Mkhize, Health Dept

The 'Daily Maverick' on Tuesday night reported that a small KwaZulu-Natal communications company called Digital Vibes was awarded an R82 million contract by the department for COVID-19 projects.

Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressed a virtual meeting on 4 August 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Special Investigating Unit has received a formal complaint regarding tenders awarded by the national Health Department to a company linked to Minister Zweli Mkhize’s close associates and will investigate.

The SIU told Eyewitness News on Wednesay that the complaint was recently lodged anonymously.

The Daily Maverick on Tuesday night reported that a small KwaZulu-Natal communications company called Digital Vibes was awarded an R82 million contract by the department for COVID-19 projects.

Digital Vibes does not have a big history or footprint in the communications sector. The company used Mkhize’s long-serving personal assistant Tahera Mather, as well as another close associate, Naadhira Mitha, as paid consultants.

Digital Vibes was also awarded a contract from the Cooperative Governance Department during Mkhize’s short stint as minister in that portfolio.

The SIU said that the damning claims of tender irregularities at the national Department of Health had also caught its attention.

Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyango said that it was recently made aware of the claims and was preparing to look into them.

"The allegation is before us formally and we will investigate that it falls within the scope of the R23 [proclamation] of 2020."

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation allowing the SIU to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 funds last year.

Kganyago said that this meant that the investigating unit would be able to directly delve into the allegations.

"We'll get into it directly because it falls within the scope of the COVID proclamation."

The claims also centre around Minister Mkhize’s long-serving PA, Mather, who was by his side during his tenure as treasurer-general of the African National Congress (ANC).

And while the minister's department denied any conflict of interest, it said that it was investigating.

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