EDITORIAL | Denials don’t cut it, Zweli Mkhize. It’s time to step aside
Sir, we suggest you set up another press conference where you will finally do the honourable thing
At 4.51am on Wednesday morning, an alert came through from the ministry of health informing journalists that minister Zweli Mkhize would be holding a press conference to address controversy over a dodgy R150m communications contract that went to a company called Digital Vibes.
A series of in-depth investigations by Daily Maverick (https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-05-23-exposed-dohs-r150m-digital-vibes-scandal-zweli-mkhize-associates-charged-millions-for-covid-19-media-briefings/) has revealed how Mkhize’s erstwhile spokesperson and personal friend Tahera Mather and former personal assistant Naadirah Mitha had personally benefited as paid consultants to the obscure company that scored a tender to render communication services in respect of the National Health Insurance (NHI) and, later, the fight against Covid-19. About R90m of the R150m was channelled to entities linked to Mather, Mitha, their family members and associates.
The most shocking revelation concerned how the department of health was charged R3.6m for the minister’s appearance on an SABC news bulletin in December 2020 to announce that SA had officially entered a second wave of Covid-19. Digital Vibes also subcontracted animation work for an NHI awareness campaign to a professional design studio that charged them R300,000 for the work. In turn, the communications company billed the department R1.1m, walking off with a cool R800,000 profit. The contract has since been terminated and is now the subject of an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit...