Ramaphosa must deal with Mkhize's Digital Vibes scandal, ANC NWC meeting hears

While some insiders suggested he take leave of absence, others have maintained the irregular tender awarded to Digital Vibes, the company linked to the minister’s close associates and his son, has nothing to do with the ANC and the party should be kept out of the scandal.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize celebrate the vaccine arrival on 1 February 2021. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa will have to deal with embattled Health Minister Zweli Mkhize himself.

Eyewitness News understands that this was the general view expressed at the ANC’s National Working Committee meeting held on Monday.

While some insiders suggested that he take leave of absence, others have maintained that the irregular tender awarded to Digital Vibes, the company linked to the minister’s close associates and his son, had nothing to do with the ANC and the party should be kept out of the scandal.

Ramaphosa has already said he was dealing with the matter and that Mkhize was cooperating.

On Monday, the Health Department denied that the probe was linked to the ANC’s internal elective conference taking place next year.

Whether Mkhize leaves of his own accord or is pushed out of the department, this will serve as yet another litmus test for the ANC. While the National Working Committee has placed the issue firmly in the hands of its president, Cyril Ramaphosa and the party's top officials, some were already trying to work out what Mkhize’s next step could mean for the ANC and its contentious step aside resolution.

The ANC is currently implementing aspects related to rule 25.70, which puts the party's interests ahead of the affected members. Other parts of it speak to appearing before the integrity commission and stepping aside, even in the face of mere allegations of corruption.

This could be leveraged by embattled secretary-general Ace Magashule’s allies, as they call for harsher action to be taken against the likes of Zizi Kodwa and Gwede Mantashe, who faced fresh allegations of wrongdoing in recent weeks.

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