Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

More headaches for Mkhize as public protector lays contempt charge

Under-fire health minister Zweli Mkhize now faces a fresh legal challenge in the form of contempt proceedings initiated by the office of the public protector.

Public protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the proceedings were a result of Mkhize repeatedly ignoring a subpoena to appear before the chapter nine institution on several occasions.

Mkhize had been summoned to appear as part of an investigation by the protector into allegations that the department had failed to implement recommendations from the clinical associate national task team in 2017.

A complaint had been laid against Mkhize by Sanele Ngcobo, a clinical associate and the general secretary of the Professional Association of Clinical Associates of South Africa, over his department’s failure to implement the recommendations of the task team.

Clinical associates assist doctors — particularly in rural hospitals at which qualified doctors are scarce — in providing care and assistance to hospitalised patients.

Segalwe said Mkhize had failed to honour appearances in February, March and April this year.

“He failed to present himself on all three occasions, with his office advising each time that he was unavailable,” Segalwe said.

Segalwe said any person who failed to appear before the protector or refused to answer questions was guilty of contempt and could be fined up to R40 000.

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said it was “critical” for state functionaries to understand that compliance with the body’s investigations was not optional.

The charge laid against Mkhize comes on top of a charge of corruption and racketeering laid against him by the Democratic Alliance on Thursday over revelations that his department paid R150-million to a company associated with his 2017 campaign manager, Tahera Mather.

Payments were allegedly made to Mkhize’s family by Digital Vibes, with the contract currently being probed by the Special Investigating Unit.

Speculation is rife that Mkhize, the public face of South Africa’s Covid-19 response, may resign in coming weeks.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Popularity will not guarantee mayoral selection — Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a more rigorous mayoral selection process, which will involve the party’s top six

Nowhere to turn for abused bakery workers

After being chased away for asking for minimum wage, Gqeberha bakers who endured racism turned first to the CCMA, then to a political party, then to a union. None helped

Health director general suspended for alleged involvement in Digital Vibes...

After initially defending Sandile Buthelezi’s personal leave, the health department has announced that he has been placed on precautionary suspension

For many SA women, home is hell

Gender-based violence often takes place at home or in intimate relationships, taking a traumatic toll on victims, their families and friends

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…