'I am dealing with Zweli Mkhize and he is co-operating,' says Ramaphosa on Digital Vibes scandal
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has spoken to health minister Zweli Mkhize about the serious allegations of wrongdoing involving the alleged looting of state funds by Mkhize's close associates.
This after a scandal has erupted over the R150m contract awarded to Digital Vibes.
“I had a discussion with the minister and he is co-operating fully and completely on this matter. And what I can say to South Africans is that I am dealing with this matter and there is full co-operation from the minister.
“So let us allow this process to unfold and thereafter we will know what needs to be done,” said Ramaphosa on Wednesday.
He was delivering the presidency budget vote to the National Assembly.
Ramaphosa said the rule of law and the importance of due process had to be affirmed. This was the same principle that informed his approach to the recent allegations around Mkhize and the contracts awarded by his department.
“These are serious and disturbing allegations and it is essential that they be thoroughly investigated by the Special Investigating Unit and any other appropriate authority, that these investigations be finalised without delay and that due legal process is followed.”
Ramaphosa said while it was disheartening to read on a daily basis about corruption allegations, it was also significant that much of what is in the public domain is a result of work being done by institutions like the SIU, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and the auditor-general, among others.
Ramaphosa said if SA's economy was to survive, if its people were to be empowered and poverty to be defeated, the country needed to tackle corruption, fraud and mismanagement in every area of public life.
He said his administration had taken decisive measures to end state capture and fight corruption and was steadily and progressively turning the tide, strengthening law enforcement agencies, identifying wrongdoing and ensuring that action is taken against those responsible.
Ramaphosa, whose speech outlined what needed to be done to achieve a capable and developmental state, said for this to be realised, corruption in all its forms had to be decisively defeated.
“We are cleaning up our state-owned enterprises, many of which have taken steps to even recover misappropriated funds and pursue individuals and companies involved in wrongdoing. We acted swiftly to address allegations of corruption in Covid-19 related procurement.
“This includes a wide-ranging series of investigations by the SIU, which uncovered several instances of corruption and which have resulted in disciplinary and criminal action and steps to recover stolen funds.”
The establishment of the fusion centre that brings together different law enforcement entities to share information and collaborate on the investigation of cases provided “a very valuable” model for future anti-corruption efforts, he said.
The online publication of all Covid-19-related contracts across all public entities had also established a precedent for greater transparency in government procurement.
Ramaphosa, whose appearance before the Zondo commission was postponed earlier this week, also addressed the essential work done by that inquiry.
“We are confident that the commission will not only establish the extent and nature of state capture and enable us to hold those responsible to account, it will also provide valuable recommendations that will assist us in ensuring that corruption of this sort is never allowed to happen again.”