'He served the nation well' - Ramaphosa defends Mkhize despite SIU findings

The report shows how members of the former minister’s family and his close associates benefited from the irregular contract.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Despite the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) finding that the former health minister lied, failed to declare conflicts of interest and approved budgets illegally, President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended Zweli Mkhize.

Ramaphosa said we must recognise that Mkhize served the country well.

The president made the remarks on Wednesday night following both the launch of the African National Congress (ANC)’s 2021 local government manifesto and his decision to authorise the release of the SIU report into the Digital Vibes scandal.

The report shows how members of the former minister’s family and his close associates benefited from the irregular contract.

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Mkhize resigned from his job just hours before Ramaphosa announced changes to his Cabinet in August.

The SIU report recommended that Ramaphosa take executive action against Mkhize but instead he relieved him of his duties.

Eyewitness News asked the president if that was a smart move.

"As much as he is implicated in the report, he has served the nation well. I think as much as we want to be gung-ho and send people to the gallows and all that, we do need to also recognise some of the things that they have done" said Ramaphosa.

The president also explained why the report, which he received three months ago, took so long to be made public.

And gave some insight into his thoughts on those implicated like Dr Anban Pillay.

"The report suggests that they should be dealt with in terms of the law and I think that's the due process that we should allow and follow."

Opposition parties have been calling for swift action against all those implicated in the saga.

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