/ 3 August 2021

ANC Integrity Committee recommends Zweli Mkhize step aside

Zweli Mkhize
former health minister Zweli Mkhize only approved the total R132-million budget for NHI communication in March last year, 199 days after the agreement was signed. Digital Vibes only delivered Covid-19-related communications services. (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The ANC’s Integrity Committee has recommended that the health minister and national executive (NEC) member, Zweli Mkhize, step aside, party sources say. 

The insiders say that the committee’s report will be tabled at the next NEC meeting. ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed that the report is with the party and will go directly to the NEC. 

One source in the national working committee said the report was with ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte’s office. 

Mkhize first indicated that he would appear before the committee in June. This came after a series of articles were published by the Daily Maverick of his alleged involvement with a company linked to his associates that benefited from tenders.

In the same month, President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the health minister on special leave. 

This led to Ramaphosa instructing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the company, Digital Vibes. 

Papers submitted to the court by the SIU last week detailed how Mkhize and his son Dedani directly and indirectly received gratifications from Digital Vibes.

The SIU filed court papers before the Special Tribunal, which has a statutory mandate to recover public funds syphoned from the fiscus through corruption, fraud and illicit money flows.

The M&G recently reported how money from the contract was allegedly used to buy a vehicle for Mkhize’s son and to carry out repairs on a house in Johannesburg owned by the Mkhize family. The health minister has denied any wrongdoing.

There is also evidence that Mkhize and the department’s deputy director general, Anba Pillay, directed other department officials to ensure that Digital Vibes got the contract. This includes WhatsApp messages and emails from personal accounts and from Mkhize and witness statements. 

There is also evidence that shows Mkhize’s long-standing relationship with Tahera Mather and Naadira Mitha was central to millions being syphoned out of the department of health for work that had little to no benefit for the state.

The ANC insiders say it was expected that members of the national working committee would discuss the SIU report on Mkhize, but the committee, which oversees the day to day workings of the party and carries out decisions and instructions of the NEC, did not do so. 

The national working committee adopted the three names recommended to take over North West Premier Job Mokgoro’s position. 

The three candidates — North West speaker Susana Dantjie, finance MEC Motlalepula Rosho and ANC veteran Bushy Maape — will undergo a rigorous interviewing process, two ANC sources said. 

The three names will also be discussed at the next NEC meeting. 

The interim provincial committee has faced resistance from former North West premier and ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo’’s supporters — led by Mokgoro — since it was appointed. It replaced the provincial task team that Luthuli House appointed when it dissolved Mahumapelo’s provincial executive committee (PEC). The interim provincial committee consists of members from both the PEC and the provincial task team.

Mokgoro was appointed to replace Mahumapelo as premier in 2018. 

The interim provincial committee suspended Mokgoro’s ANC membership in December for allegedly voting with the Democratic Alliance in the legislature in defiance of the ANC leadership. A disciplinary process has started.