- AfriForum has called for Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize to step aside while the SIU investigates an irregular contract
- The contract was allegedly awarded to associates of Dr Mkhize, who owns the company Digital Vibes
- The South African Council of Churches also raised concerns, however Mkhize maintains his innocence in the matter
The organisation AfriForum has requested that Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize step aside while the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) continues its probe into the issues surrounding the minister and an alleged contract given to his associates.
AfriForum stated that it had sent a complaint to the Public Protector on Tuesday, 25 March, asking for Mkhize to step aside during the investigation. Reports say that at the beginning of the week, the Health Department revealed that there were irregularities found in the contract awarded to Digital Vibes.
The R82 million contract is still under investigation by the SIU. AfriForum is not the only organisation calling Mkhize out. The South African Council of Churches (SACC) noted that the contract had pointed to abuse of public funds.
According to TimesLIVE, spokesperson for the Public Protector Oupa Segalwe stated that they could not currently confirm receipt of the complaint but that they would check again on Wednesday, 26 May.
A report by EWN stated that the SACC said the amount of money paid to Digital Vibes by the Health Department made no sense. They added that this directed attention towards the sheer extent of 'greed and disrespect' that has become common in public institutions in South Africa.
On the morning of Wednesday, 26 May, Mkhize addressed the concerns surrounding the contract awarded to Digital Vibes. News24 reported that Mkhize confirmed the irregular expenditure of at least R35 million to the department.
Although Mkhize stated that the tender and bidding for the contract were in contravention of the Public Financing Management Act, he maintained that he was not involved in it.
Previously, Briefly News reported that Mkhize said he does not believe he needs to step aside while the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probes the R82 million tender allegedly issued to his associates. Mkhize added that he would be co-operating with the SIU.
Mkhize said he does not see the need to step down while the SIU investigates Digital Vibes, a company associated with the minister. The minister said that once the investigation is completed, the information would be made public.
Mkhize had been responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, 10 March.
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