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Ramaphosa vows to tackle Digital Vibes saga

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa/ Elmond Jiyane (GCIS)

By Kaya 959 News

President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that the Digital Vibes matter will not go unattended.

Speaking to the media following his reply to the Presidency budget vote, he said he was dealing with the matter.

The President said he will wait for the investigation to be concluded by the Special Investigating Unit.

He said he has met with Dr Zweli Mkhize and said the matter needed to be taken further by the SIU.

“The matter is on my desk. It is not going to be swept under the carpet. It will be dealt with  and as it is now, I am dealing with the matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, there have been growing calls for Mkhize to step aside.

Digital Vibes is a media company run by Mkhize’s former personal spokesperson, Tahera Mather and his former personal assistant, Naadhira Mitha.

The company was awarded a R150 million tender for services linked to the National Health Insurance and later the roll-out of communications around COVID-19.

Funds channeled to suspicious third parties

At least R90m of the R150m was funneled to entities set up by both women to business and personal accounts of some of Mather’s immediate family. Funds were also channeled to suspicious third parties.

Thus far, investigations have established that R40m was used for legitimate service providers and other costs related to the department’s contract. R20m has not been accounted for.

The DA on Thursday laid criminal charges against Mkhize.

https://twitter.com/Our_DA/status/1400384831649878017

“It has been reported that Minister Mkhize personally signed off on the submission that contained the contract to this company ran and owned by close associates of his,” the DA’s Siviwe Gwarube said.

READ: SAPS slam R1.6 billion PPE report as ‘fake news’

She said should this in fact be true, it is in direct contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (POCCA) Section 3 and specifically Sections 12 and 13 which relate to acts of service offered or accepted in exchange for government contracts and tenders.

“In addition, the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) explicitly states that the signing off of any contracts is the function of the accounting officer and not the executive authority – as was allegedly the case with Minister Mkhize.

Therefore, the Health DG, Dr Buthelezi must also be investigated for his involvement and possible contravention of the PFMA with gross negligence,” Gwarube said.

She added that the allegations against Minister Mhkize are incredibly serious.

“It is unconscionable that President Cyril Ramaphosa does not take action against the Minister – pending the outcome of the SIU investigation,” she said.

R14 billion in COVID-corruption.

Gwarube said the Minister cannot be both a player and a referee in the case concerning him.

“By remaining in his post while the SIU investigation takes place, he could undermine the integrity of the process and risk undue political influence,” she said.

Gwarube said they are of the view that the processes by both the police and the SIU can and should run concurrently.

“The two arms of the criminal justice system could collaborate and cross-check with one another to get to the bottom of this matter,” she said.

The DA said, this week hee SIU confirmed that they are investigating over R14 billion in COVID-corruption.

“The person tasked with leading the response to COVID-19 in the country cannot have allegations of this nature hanging over him. We call on both agencies – the SIU and the SAPS to conduct their investigation without any fear or favour,” Gwarube said.

She said the ball is now firmly in the President’s court.

 

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