Mkhize to break his silence on alleged corruption in R150m COVID contract saga

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is also looking into a multimillion-rand contract in which the company Digital Vibes was appointed in 2019 to provide communication services to government's National Health Insurance rollout.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addresses a media briefing on 13 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is expected to break his silence on the alleged corruption and looting of public funds by a company linked to him and his department.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is also looking into a multimillion-rand contract in which the company Digital Vibes was appointed in 2019 to provide communication services to government's National Health Insurance rollout.

Mkhize's former spokesperson and long-time associate Tahera Mather and the minister's personal assistant Naadhira Mitha are at the centre of the looting allegations.

Mkhize is expected to take questions from journalists on Wednesday morning about what he was aware of when it comes to alleged corruption and looting by Digital Vibes.

"The Department of Health entered into a contractual agreement with the company Digital Vibes to procure strategic communications services, however, questions have been raised about the overall legitimacy of this contract as well as the purported services. The minister will provide an update on the status of the investigations," a statement from the department said.

Mkhize has been widely criticised, following an expose by the Daily Maverick that his close associates and other third parties allegedly pocketed R90 million in questionable payments from the R150 million COVID-19 and National Health Insurance communications contract.

It’s been further claimed that Digital Vibes even charged the department millions of rands to schedule Mkhize's media briefings during the pandemic.

On Monday, the minister’s office released a statement pleading with the media and public to be given more time before responding on the quote "glaring irregularities" pointed out by the SIU report.

Meanwhile, AfriForum has turned to the Public Protector complaining about Mkhize’s alleged involvement, calling for him to be relieved of his duties until the SIU's probe is concluded.

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